VIEW FROM THE BOOTH - DAVID CRANE
BATTLE FOR THE BONES
The visit to South Carolina was disappointing and encouraging, all at the same time. It's no fun to lose...period. The Blazer offense struggled mightily against the Gamecocks, but, rest assured, they aren't and won't be the only ones to have a long day against the SC defense. Tennessee was big and physical, like most SEC teams, but Carolina was big, physical and seemed to enjoy every minute on the field and every lick delivered. It "hurts" to have a quick turnaround after the South Carolina game, but Memphis is also facing a short week. Let's just hope they have as many bumps and bruises as the Green and Gold do after last weekend.
Now for the encouraging part of the trip to Columbia. You have to feel like you've accomplished something if Steve Spurrier resorts to alternating quarterback on three consecutive plays. While the Ball Coach didn't wear a visor for the night game at Williams-Brice Stadium, his headset certainly took a beating. The UAB defense continually frustrated the Gamecock offense and its mastermind. The Blazers looked like a different group out there, and it certainly appeared as if they were the ones imposing their will on the Carolina offense as opposed to simply reacting to what SC was doing, or trying to do, on offense. It is amazing what a little success and a little confidence can do for a team. It would be awfully nice to see that improvement continue this Thursday night at Legion Field. The 'Cocks genuinely thought they'd put up about 500 yards and 40 or 50 points against UAB. And after listening to their post-game call-in show on the way to the airport, it is safe to say the "Cock and Fire" offense is taking some shots from the SC faithful.
On to this week... a short week to get ready for Memphis and the "Battle for the Bones." The Blazers saw their seven-game win streak over the Tigers come to an end last year at the Liberty Bowl. Memphis claimed the Bones trophy for the first time, and Neil Callaway's bunch is eager to get their hands on it once again...that is until they try to actually pick the thing up! The 100-pound, bronze rack of ribs is a great looking trophy, and it's certainly one of the more unique prizes in college football, but looks can be deceiving...the Bones are a lot like that slab of ribs that tipped Fred Flintstone's car over.
The atmosphere should be fantastic on Thursday night. The barbecue competition before the game will have everyone outside Legion Field salivating...I'm still trying to figure out how I can be a judge and do the pre-game show on radio! Thursday night crowds have been good for the Blazers, and I certainly hope that will hold true once again. This week's game with Memphis marks the midpoint of the season for UAB, and after Thursday, the Blazers will have only two home games remaining. In other words, GET OUT TO LEGION FIELD!!!
UAB needs your support against Memphis, the CUSA team the Blazers have had the most success against over the years. The Green and Gold are 4-1 all-time vs. Memphis in Birmingham, and the Tigers are one of our two main rivals (Southern Miss being the other one) in Conference USA. Get there early...enjoy the tailgating and barbecue...then cheer the Blazers to a big win. We'll be on the air at 5:30 PM from Blazer Village for the pre-game show, and kickoff is set for 7 PM. The game will be televised by CBS College Sports, but that's no excuse for not being at the game. Perfect weather...the smell of ribs in the air...and football on a Thursday night...what could be better?
Don't forget, we'll play another Thursday game next week (at Houston), so we'll move our call-in show up one day. "Blazers All-Access" will air Tuesday, October 7, from 7-8 PM at Baumhower's Wings Restaurant in Patton Creek. I anticipate recapping a big win over Memphis and looking ahead to the Cougars.
Well, off to get my bib...no doubt I'll need it with all the barbecue being served up at Legion Field. Hope to see you there!