April 9, 2001
RAW NUMBERS: Monday's first scrimmage of the spring consisted of 84 plays - 24 rushing, 49 passing. There were six penalties, two fumbles and no interceptions.
AARON SHINES: As expected, senior quarterback Jeff Aaron was impressive. The Montgomery, Ala., native (Jeff Davis HS) took 40 snaps, completed 13 of 24 pass attempts for 286 yards and also had two rushing attempts for 36 yards. Although touchdowns were not actually part of the scrimmage format, Aaron could have had as many as two, he hit split end Travis Johnson with a deep pass that covered some 80 yards late in the scrimmage, and had a 37-yarder to flanker Willie Quinnie in his second series of the afternoon.
QUARTERBACK NUMBERS: Backup quarterbacks Thomas Cox and Matt Johnson were also busy Monday afternoon. Cox, a redshirt junior from Bessemer's Jess Lanier High School hit on six of 13 passing attempts for 98 yards, while Johnson, a redshirt sophomore from Selma (Meadowbrook Christian) was seven of 11 for 133 yards.
ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE FOR QUINNIE: Although he missed much of the 2000 season with a knee injury and was never really the same after his sensational debut in the season-opener vs. Chattanooga, junior flanker Willie Quinnie just gives off the vibe of being a big-play receiver. In Monday's scrimmage the native of Theodore, Ala,. (Theodore HS) led all receivers with seven receptions for 147 yards, making several very difficult catches in heavy traffic.
COACH BROWN PLEASED: Overall, UAB Head Coach Watson Brown felt good about the effort and performance of the Blazers in Monday's scrimmage.
"It was pretty good, really," said Brown immediately afterward.
"Not a lot of penalties, two turnovers - both of them fumbles - we didn't throw an interception. We probably could have, we dropped one, maybe two that were thrown right at us. But really, overall, the things you worry about in a first scrimmage weren't too bad. We tried to be very simple on both sides of the ball. We really wanted to watch these kids and see whether or not some of the younger guys can help us. It will be fun to get this tape and watch certain players and see if there is a place for them on our team."
Brown had praise for Aaron, who became the UAB starter five games into the 2000 season and led the Blazers to a 4-2 record down the stretch.
"I thought Jeff was really good. I don't know what his stats ended up being - they probably dropped four or five, maybe six of his passes, but he threw to the right guy every time and made some really nice throws. I also thought Willie Quinnie had a really good day, too."
Brown was careful to look to the defensive side of the ball as well, pointing out that the restrictions placed upon the defense in a controlled scrimmage don't make for great statistics or headlines.
"It's hard to tell about your defensive line. Number one, we took a lot of them out because they've been here a long time and didn't scrimmage them a lot, and number two, we don't let them sack the quarterback in the scrimmages, so they will get credit for some `sacks' (on tape) that you didn't see on the field."
NO INJURIES: The Blazers emerged from the first scrimmage relatively unscathed, with just the normal bumps and bruises that are expected.
"The main thing is, we didn't hurt anybody," said Brown.
As expected, several veterans did not participate in the scrimmage, including defensive linemen Eddie Freeman (toe) and James Malone (ankle), running back Jegil Dugger (shoulder), offensive linemen Preston Fray (shoulder), Artavious Williams (hamstring) and Eddie LaFavour (back) and receivers Maurice Gallery (knee) and T.J. Simmons (knee).
NEXT SCRIMMAGE: The Blazers' second scrimmage of the spring is set for Monday, Apr., 16 at approximately 3:20 pm.
PRACTICE SCHEDULE: UAB will work out in shorts on Tuesday (3:00 pm), take Wednesday off, then return to the practice field on Thursday (3:00 pm) and Friday (11:30 am).
STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM UAB FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE (4/9/01)
#2 - JEFF AARON (QB) Passing: 13-24-0, 286 yds., Rushing: 2-36 yds.
#13 - MATT JOHNSON (QB) Passing: 7-11-0, 133 yds., Rushing: 2-7 yds.
#14 - THOMAS COX (QB) Passing: 6-13-0, 98 yds, Rushing: 2-0 yds.
#5 - WILLIE QUINNIE (WR) Receiving: 7-147 yds.
#3 - TRAVIS JOHNSON (SE) Receiving: 3-109 yds.
#26 - ANDRE OLLIE (WR) Receiving: 4-72 yds.
#7 - KENNY BORDERS (WR) Receiving: 3-60 yds.
#81 - ROYD WILLIAMS (SE) Receiving: 3-38 yds.
#32 - BERNARD ANDERSON (RB) Rushing: 6-32 yds.
#41 - CORDELL DAVIS (RB) Rushing: 5-13 yds.
#21 - PATRICK BURCHFIELD (CB) Forced Fumble
#11 - THOMAS ARNOLD (CB) Forced Fumble
#35 - ADRIAN SINGLETON (FS) Fumble Recovery