It will be a happy homecoming this Saturday, regardless of the outcome, for the simple fact we will be at HOME! The five-game stretch to start this 2007 football season has been challenging, to say the least. It's a bad news, good news, bad news situation. The bad news is UAB is off to a 1-4 start. The good news is the Blazers have had a legitimate chance to win three of the four games they lost. The bad news is the Green and Gold haven't found a way to finish off an opponent when they've had the opportunity.
Those that have a distaste for maroon and white would say trips to Starkville are always dull. I contend they may be dull, but rarely are they uneventful. Last Saturday was no exception to my theory. It was Homecoming...it was almost 90 degrees...UAB nearly ruined another MSU celebration...and, shockingly, many of the announced crowd of over 45,000 managed to smuggle artificial noisemakers into Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. On the bright side, most of those cowbell clangers had little to clang about, especially for the first 30 minutes. It was great to see and hear the vocal group of Blazer fans having a great time on Saturday. We saw plenty of green and gold on the way to Starkville Saturday morning, and I know the players appreciated the support.
I know we get tired of having to accentuate the positives of a loss. It's much more fun to accentuate wins, period. It's also nice to know that "moral victories" are not discussed among the players and coaches. At his weekly press luncheon on Monday, coach Callaway was asked by a reporter if there was such a thing as a "moral victory." No doubt the reporter was hoping for a nice little sound bite from the head coach. Instead, he got a nice little one-word answer, "No." After a few seconds, the rest of the room began to chuckle, and coach Callaway got a wry grin on his face, knowing full well his response to the question wasn't exactly what had been expected...but it was perfect.
It is worth mentioning that the Blazers were without two starters on the offensive line (Matt McCants and Adam Truitt), as well as their leading tackler (Will Dunbar). Joe Webb was also a non-factor after a knee injury suffered against Tulsa kept him on the sidelines for the majority of the day. It truly is remarkable UAB led going to the fourth quarter, out gained the Bullies and held State to under 300 yards of total offense. By no means am I saying the Blazers were flawless. Missed tackles, penalties and missed opportunities in the Red Zone proved most costly, but sometimes the stats and the score don't always paint an accurate picture, and Saturday was a prime example of that. While you can be disappointed at the record and at the way some of the games have gone this year, it's hard to be disappointed with the effort this team has shown for the majority of the season.
The good news is UAB will be at home for four of the next five Saturdays. It starts this weekend with Homecoming at Legion Field. Tulane comes to town for a 6 PM match-up, the first meeting between the two teams since a memorable, 59-55 shootout won by the Green Wave back in 2004. Tulane dropped a tough one on the road, as well, as the Greenies lost in overtime, 20-17, at Army last Saturday. Both teams are looking for their first win in Conference USA, and UAB hopes to end a three-game skid against the Green Wave that dates back to a 34-27 win at Legion Field in 2001.
There are plenty of events going on this week in conjunction with Homecoming, and I hope you'll get out and enjoy as many of them as possible. To wrap up the festive week, please put on your green and gold and head out to Legion Field on Saturday night. The weather is supposed to be fantastic, with temperatures back where they should be in early October. You can certainly make a difference, and we hope to see you at the game. Our broadcast will begin at 4:30 PM on Saturday, live from Blazer Village just outside the north end zone at Legion Field.
Have a great Homecoming Week, and GO BLAZERS!!!