VIEW FROM THE BOOTH - DAVID CRANE
Dear Blazer Fans,
We survived the trip to Rocky Top, which is always the first objective. The Tennessee fans, to be honest, were quite hospitable to those of us wearing green and gold last weekend. Neyland Stadium wasn't full, which was unusual to see, but it was still plenty loud...and plenty orange. The Blazers didn't play their best game, but they did do enough, especially in the first 35 minutes of the game, to keep the Vols and their fans uneasy. I thought the UAB squad handled the setting and the situation pretty well...there didn't appear to be any serious jitters, despite the fact that was the third-largest crowd to ever see a Blazer game. (The top two also came in Knoxville against the Big Orange.)
It will be awfully nice to be back at Legion Field this coming Saturday. The Blazers, for the most part, played pretty well at home last year, and UAB turned in a great first half against Tulsa in the season opener here in the Magic City. Alabama State comes to Birmingham also in need of a win. The Hornets are 0-2 and coming off an open week. It's the third meeting between the two in-state foes, and UAB would dearly love to earn victory number one in 2008 and also victory number one against ASU. The first two games in the series came when the Blazers were still a member of Division I-AA.
Coach Callaway and company are eager to pick up that first win of the season. Despite the 0-3 record and the struggles thus far, I truly believe this UAB team is better than last year's squad through three games. A lot of that has to do with it being the second season under coach Callaway. The problem is it's just a "feeling" right now. There needs to be some tangible evidence of improvement, and the best way to show that is to put a "1" before the "3" in the record column of the stat sheet. This bunch needs a real reason to feel good, and nothing does that quite like a victory celebration.
Alabama State's offense will be another interesting one to watch and defend. The Hornets will spread it out and throw it all over the field. The "Hornet Raid" will put a premium on the front four getting some pressure and everyone on defense making sure, solid tackles. Eric Schumann and coach Callaway have both talked this week about eliminating the "big plays" that have plagued the UAB defense this season, and the Blazers will need to be on their toes this Saturday.
We'll be on the air from Blazer Village starting at 1:30 PM on the Blazers ISP Sports Network. The Village will open at 1 PM, and kickoff is set for 3 PM. The weather should be absolutely ideal for football, and I hope you're making your plans to be there with us. As an added attraction, Krystal hamburgers will be having a qualifying event in their Krystal Square Off contest. You'll get a chance to see people trying to eat as many Krystals as possible in eight minutes, including the world-famous Kobayashi (6-time winner in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest).
I look forward to seeing a big crowd at Legion Field this Saturday. I hope you'll cheer on the Blazers and help them to win number one of the season.
Have a great weekend, and GO BLAZERS!!!