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VIEW FROM THE BOOTH - DAVID CRANE

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A SECOND FIRST?

UAB Fans,

I hope you enjoyed your "off week" as much as I did. I got to make a quick trip out west to see my sister and her family. We watched football, ate, and watched a little more football. As much fun as going to games and calling games are, a true off day during the season is good for EVERYONE! The Blazers got away from football over the weekend, and let's hope the extra time between games will allow some of those bumps and bruises to heal nicely.

Neil Callaway's team should still have some momentum, despite the down time, following the emotional, hard-fought win on Homecoming over the Thundering Herd of Marshall. The Blazers had to overcome an early deficit and some miscues in the second half that might have caused earlier editions of the Green and Gold to question whether they'd enjoy another victory celebration this season. Coach Callaway preached about handling adversity, something the Blazers did NOT do against UH. This time around, nothing seemed to faze UAB. The players and coaches were determined to put 60 solid minutes together, and they did just that. It wasn't easy...it wasn't always pretty...but the Blazers never doubted themselves, the coaches or the game plan. The result was the first conference win of the year and the first victory over Marshall.

(By the way, the win over the Herd looks better and better after Marshall whipped up on Houston earlier this week on national television.)

Now it's time to build on that victory...remember that good feeling after the game...and for a little more motivation, remember what Southern Miss did to the Blazers at Legion Field last year. UAB heads to Hattiesburg on Saturday for the 9th meeting between the Green and Gold and the Golden Eagles. USM exploded in the second quarter of last year's game and cruised to an easy victory, the easiest in the history of the series, in Birmingham. There have been plenty of close games and near-misses for the Blazers, but they've never quite gotten over the hump against Southern Miss.

The Golden Eagles come into the game with a new head coach, Larry Fedora, and a five-game losing streak, too. It's hard to figure out why USM has struggled this year, but one thing is for sure, they have too much talent on both sides of the ball for it to continue TOO much longer. Let's just hope it does for one more week, and the Green and Gold can walk out of newly-expanded Roberts Stadium with the school's first-ever football victory over USM.

Kickoff is at 7 PM...CSS will televise the game...and the Blazers ISP Sports Network will be on the air starting at 5:30 PM with pre-game coverage.

It is so hard to believe we are entering the final month of the regular season. It seems like only yesterday we were getting ready for the high-octane Tulsa offense...feel free to root for the Golden Hurricane this weekend...TU is at Arkansas (a game filled with subplots and storylines), and Tulsa is very much in the running for a BCS berth. A win in Fayetteville would keep them undefeated...add some needed credibility to the league...and put them one step closer to a very nice payday for Conference USA come bowl season!

As for another team to keep your eye on this weekend...how about the UAB volleyball team? They wrap up a long home stand this weekend, and go into Friday night's meeting with East Carolina on some kind of roll. The Blazers have won a school-record 14 straight matches! Kerry Messersmith's team stands at 20-3 overall and 10-1 in Conference USA. They'll enjoy Senior Night festivities prior to the start of the 7 PM match with ECU, and then UAB closes out the home stand AND the home schedule with Marshall on Sunday afternoon at one o'clock. Best of luck to the Blazers!

Also want to wish the women's cross country team the best of luck this Saturday when they head to Memphis for the Conference USA Championships!

It's going to be a busy weekend for the Green and Gold...get out and enjoy some of the action. Hope to see you in Hattiesburg and...

GO BLAZERS!!!
DC

 
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