Football Spring Practice Begins In Chilly Weather

March 28, 2001

BRRR:? The UAB Football team went through its first spring practice Wednesday in weather reminiscent of the late regular season.?? The Blazers worked in shorts for just over two hours, in temperatures that dropped into the 40s with intermittent rain and even some snow flurries by the end of the session.?

GOOD EFFORT, TOO MANY MISTAKES: Despite the cold, wet conditions, the Blazers did manage to complete the entire scheduled practice. UAB Head Coach Watson Brown was not surprised that there were numerous mistakes in the team's first session.

"There were about a million mistakes in a two hour and ten minute practice," said Brown afterward.?? "The effort is good, the attitude is good.? It will all come around.? It's going to take a while.? We're doing some different things on offense, and that changes everybody's practice habits.? The defense, the offense, everybody has to react to that a little bit."

OFFENSIVE CHANGES:? Brown was not surprised that the offensive units struggled a bit in their first major workout.?? UAB is changing to a one-back, three-receiver set in 2001, and is breaking in a number of young offensive linemen (the only returning starter and upperclassman is redshirt junior center Kirk Tuck).? The Blazers are also going to a "no-huddle" system, with plays being signaled in from the sidelines and called at the line of scrimmage.

"With the no-huddle, fast-paced style, we're going to make a lot of mistakes at first," he said.? "When you do that, it's going to be different.? This system is something that we've wanted to do all along.? We started to it some last year but then we had all those injuries (especially to the offensive line and receiver corps) and kind of had to leave it.? But that's the style we want to play here, it's what we want to do, spread the opponent out, run the ball, throw the ball, with no huddle.? I've kind of been a `no-huddle' man for most of my career and now we're getting to do it here and I think it's going to be good."

REDS AND YELLOWS:? Five Blazers were wearing red (no contact) or yellow (limited contact) jerseys when practice began Wednesday, signifying injured status.?? Offensive linemen Preston Fray (shoulder) and Artavious Williams (hamstring) are both coming off surgery following the 2000 season and will not participate in contact during the spring.?? The same is true for defensive tackle Eddie Freeman, who underwent off season surgery for a toe injury.?? Running back Jegil Dugger (shoulder), receiver Maurice Gallery (knee) and safety Torrey Hale (shoulder) are all coming off surgery and are on limited contact status this spring.? It's the second straight spring in a yellow jersey for Gallery, who was also on limited status in 2000.

PRACTICE #2: The Blazers are set to return to work in shorts on Thursday at 3:00 pm CST.

PADS ON FRIDAY:? UAB will work in full gear for the first time on Friday (time TBA).