Nov. 10, 2010
The Green and Gold look to get back on the right track this week...but they don't have a lot of time to do it. East Carolina pays a visit to the Magic City for a Thursday night showdown with the Blazers, this after UAB lost a tough one on Saturday to Marshall for Homecoming. We'll see if the short week helped the Blazers put that loss behind them quickly...I hope so.
ECU is an interesting team. The Pirates can absolutely light up the scoreboard, but their defense has been pillaged time and time again here in 2010. You no doubt saw Navy put 76 on the board last Saturday in Greenville. The bad news for UAB is the Blazer offense isn't the triple option/wishbone-hybrid that the Midshipmen employ. ECU is still wondering exactly what happened to them after that amazing display of option football. Ruffin McNeil's team has struggled mightily against running teams, and I do expect to see a motivated Blazer squad try to get things going on the ground. They've shown the ability to do it, and it would also be sound strategy to try and keep the ball away from the Pirates.
The ECU attack is prolific, to say the least. They are averaging over 36 points a game, and they've scored 35-plus in all five over the Conference USA games this season. Despite getting routed by the Middies last Saturday, ECU averaged over six yards per play on offense. Their problem was hanging on to the ball. Four turnovers proved critical, and Navy wound up scoring on all eight of its possessions in the second half.
It's hard to believe we are talking about this game...I remember, vividly, watching East Carolina stun Tulsa on the opening weekend of the season with a "Hail Mary" on the final play. The Pirates have a strong-armed quarterback and a slew of talented wide receivers. The UAB defense will have to bring its "A" game on Thursday night to have a chance to slow the Pirates down. Both teams have had injury issues, and at this point in the season, you aren't going to find many truly healthy teams. Let's hope the guys in Green and Gold will have enough in the tank to go the full 60 minutes against the #7 pass offense in the entire country.
I expect UAB to play well...they seemingly always do on Thursday nights...in particular when it's been a quick turnaround. I know the loss to Marshall was disappointing for everyone, but this is a chance to right the ship and start the home stretch in style. Goals are still within reach, but there's no margin for error at this point.
We'll be on the air at 5:30 PM live from Blazer Village, and kickoff is slated for 7 PM on CBS College. It's also Veterans' Day, and we'll be honoring some truly inspirational people at the game. I do hope you are making your plans to be with us, and, if not, make it a point to thank a veteran in some way on Thursday.
It's a busy week of UAB athletics...thanks to basketball starting up! The men are the first to get it going. Southeast Missouri State visits Bartow Arena on Saturday night for a 7 PM tip, and our pre-game on the Blazer Sports Network will begin at 6:30 PM. Steve Mitchell joins me again this year for all the home games and selected road contests, and we're both excited about the 2010-11 edition of the Blazers. The exhibition game last Friday was a nice preview, and I think UAB fans are in store for another fun season.
The UAB women will tip it off on Sunday at 6 PM, and then they'll be back in action on Tuesday night. Both of those games will be at Bartow Arena, and Audra Smith is excited about picking up where her team left off at the end of last season...a memorable run to the C-USA Tournament Championship Game.
I hope you're making your plans to enjoy the full weekend of Blazer sports. The football team needs you on Thursday, and there's nothing better than a rocking Bartow Arena.
Have a great week and weekend...put on the Green and Gold multiple times...and GO BLAZERS!!!