April 21, 2001
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -
The UAB Blazers third and final scrimmage of the spring had a little something for everyone Saturday afternoon at West Campus Field.
A crowd estimated at 2,000 got a preview of the Blazers' new one-back, "no-huddle" offense and also saw some very solid play from what should once again be one of the nation's top defensive units.
The one hour and 14 minute scrimmage consisted of 76 plays - 46 passing, 30 rushing - and showcased the talents of the Blazer quarterbacks and receivers.
Senior quarterback Jeff Aaron had another strong performance, hitting on 12 of 19 pas attempts for 183 yards and two long touchdowns, a 45-yarder to flanker Willie Quinnie and one of 55 yards to split end Leron Little.?? Aaron also completed the three spring scrimmages without throwing an interception.
Thomas Cox, who will be a red shirt junior in 2001, went 13-21 for 141 yards and hit receiver Royd Williams for a 25-yard touchdown late in the scrimmage.? He also threw one interception.
Quinnie continued his impressive play, with three receptions for 69 yards, including the 45-yard scoring strike from Aaron. He also returned two punts for 33 yards.
"The best thing I saw out there today was no serious injuries," said UAB head coach Watson Brown afterward.
"These things (spring exhibitions) drive me crazy.? We were very simple, we took most of our starting defensive guys out after two series and didn't use them much.? I let the first offensive line go together the whole time, that's really the only group that stayed together the whole time.? That and the quarterbacks.? Other than that, it was just a `hodgepodge' of throwing guys out there and letting them go.
I think it went pretty well.? We didn't have nearly as many penalties - we had a few more right at the end when we got a little tired, but really we cut those down.? The first offense had one turnover on their first play together, but we improved a lot.?
Jeff (Aaron) is a good player.? We're building a lot of things around him.? He's a good passer, I think he's got a good hold on the offense, he can hit you deep and he can scramble and make a first down.? So we've got to put the ball in his hands.
Brown was pleased with the team's overall progress during the spring, and had particular words of praise for the offensive line, which lost four senior starters from the 2000 team.
"I think the offensive line got better, and that's the one thing I really wanted to see," he said.
"Another thing was our defensive secondary not giving up as many big plays.? We gave up some today, but it wasn't our starters out there.? I think we've improved on that.? It's going to be hard to take the ball 80 yards down the field on our defense, especially our front six.? If we can quit giving up the big play, we've got a chance to be real good."
UAB will complete 2001 spring practice with workouts on Monday and Tuesday, Apr. 23-24, and will report for fall practice on Aug. 7.??
STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS FROM UAB FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE (4/21/01) #2 JEFF AARON (QB) Pass: 12-19, 183 yds., 2 TD, 0 Int., Rush: 2-34 #14 THOMAS COX (QB) Pass: 13-21, 141 yds, TD, Int., Rush: 7-(-27) #32 BERNARD ANDERSON (RB) Rush: 6-39 #41 CORDELL DAVIS (RB) Rush: 7-30 #43 DAVID CRAWFORD (RB) Rush: 8-9, TD (1-yd.) #5 WILLIE QUINNIE (FLK) Rec.: 3-69, TD (55 yds. from Aaron), PR: 2-33 #83 LERON LITTLE (SE) Rec.: 1-45, TD (45 yds. from Aaron) #7 KENNY BORDERS (WR) Rec.: 4-62 #81 ROYD WILLIAMS (SE) Rec.: 2-40, TD (25 yds. from Cox) #15 ANDREW KOPECKY (SS) Interception #42 DERRICK BUSH (SS) Interception #59 NIGEL ELDRIDGE (LB) Interception #95 RHETT GALLEGO (PK) FGs: 28,31 yds. #60 NICK HAYES (PK) PATs: 2-2 #92 ROSS STEWART (P) Punts: 3-132 (Long-48)