July 24, 2013
IRVING, Texas ---- UAB head coach Garrick McGee and senior linebacker Patrick Bastien spoke to local and national media on Wednesday at the annual Conference USA Football Media Day about the exciting, upcoming 2013 season, set to begin Aug. 31 at Troy.
McGee, who enters his second season guiding the Blazer football program, and Bastien, a fifth-year senior, were accompanied by players and coaches of the other 13 Conference USA teams at the yearly media day meetings. Wednesday also gave future C-USA football members Charlotte and Old Dominion the opportunity to discuss joining the league.
Both McGee and Bastien spent Wednesday morning being interviewed with C-USA television partners prior to spending the afternoon discussing the upcoming season with print media, radio and local television affiliates.
The UAB football student-athletes will start fall camp on Tuesday, Aug. 6, as the Blazers begin preparations for the season opener at Troy.
Below are some comments from McGee and Bastien at Wednesday's Conference USA Football Media Day.
Head Coach Garrick McGee
On entering his second season as a head coach...
"I think if you are a very fast learner, and I pride myself in being a very fast learner, that if you run around the track once, you are supposed to know where all the curves are and where the straight-away is. I understand our conference, what schemes other coaches are running, our program and its positives and deficiencies, and I know our staff and players better. So I am in a better position, personally going into the second year, which is going to force our team to be in a better position."
Expectations on the team this year...
"We are in a really good place, because not many people know much about us. I think our team is a very good football team. I've been fortunate to coach a lot of different places and the skill level and talent level that we have on our team right now is as good as I've seen. We have depth at every position and we are a very fast football team. We have two quarterbacks that are capable of winning games, which not many teams have in the country. I'm really excited and I really love this team."
On UAB's offensive personnel...
"I've been very fortunate to coach some really good offenses and have seen some really good skilled players and quarterback play, but what we have going on now is a very, very fast offense. We have depth at every position. We have three running backs that are capable of starting for us, with one of them being an all-conference running back (Darrin Reaves).
"We have two wide receivers in J.J. Nelson and Maudrecus Humphrey that are running really low 100-meter track times and are really fast kids. Jackie Williams is back who has the longest active consecutive games streak with a catch in the country and Kennard Backman will be at tight end, who I think one day will be a NFL draft pick. So when you add all that up, and you have two quarterbacks, and I call the offensive plays and I am very comfortable with our system, I expect us to be very good on offense."
On the Blazers' defensive unit...
"We have 18 starters returning overall and most are on defense, only losing three on defense and everybody else is back. We changed our scheme on defense a little bit to give us more speed on the field and defend with these spread offenses, so we are confident and we are really looking forward to season."
Sr. LB Patrick Bastien
Expectations going into this season...
"I think the team enthusiasm is at an all-time high. I've been here for five years and the optimism and how everybody is feeling great and we have really bought in. We have put in the hard work and now we are waiting to see the results."
On playing under Coach McGee…
"He is a players' coach and whatever we do, he is going to make it fun. It could be a hard day of 24 periods of straight hitting, but he is going to find a way to get a positive things out of it and to laugh and enjoy it but at the same time we are going to work hard and we are grinding."
On the future of the program under Coach McGee...
"He has it heading in the right direction. We are going to get to where we are real consistent. Some of the guys that played last year were freshmen, and a lot of those guys are going to be four-year starters by the time they are seniors."
On defending the spread offense against C-USA opponents...
"We see (fast tempo) in practice everyday. Coach McGee preaches to use fast tempo in everything we do, so it is pretty much the culture. When we lift weights, we lift with a fast tempo. When we meet you need to get their fast. When you get out of your car you are running to the office fast. Everything we do is fast tempo so we will be ready for (spread, no-huddle offenses)."