Football Break Out Pads For First Time

Quarterback Jonathan Perry and Head Coach Garrick McGee

Aug. 4, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— The UAB football team donned pads for the first time at fall camp during Saturday morning’s workouts at the on-campus practice fields.

Head coach Garrick McGee cited impressive performances from members of the freshman class, including defensive tackles Roscoe Byrd and Jontavius Morris, and safeties Jake Ganus and Nyiakki Height, but also noted that the speed dropped compared to the practices earlier in the week.

“We are not moving at the pace I want,” McGee said.  “There are certain times for certain drills. We have a long way to go.”

Practice featured an emphasis on highly physical one-on-one drills, and McGee notes that the team is working on attaining a mental toughness that will lead the team into playing a certain way no matter the arena, the weather or the opponent.

For the Blazers, next week’s practices will be critical.

“Next week there is no class,” McGee said. “I have to give our kids credit.  They were in class this week and study hall, especially a lot of our young kids, and getting on the field right after that is very tough on them.

“I just have to give them a lot of credit, but next week we will have the opportunity to really focus on what we need to do and that is critical. We have to come together next week.”

McGee later went into detail about the positives he had seen thus far in camp from the freshman class.

“When you look at guys like Roscoe Byrd and Jontavius Morris as true freshmen, they’re both 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, over 300 pounds,” McGee said. “They run well and they’re quick, they’re explosive.



“Then, when you look at Jake Ganus and Nyiakki Height as safeties, they’re 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, strong, aggressive, they’re really smart. I don’t know many teams with guys like that. I’m really pleased with our freshman class.”

The Blazers wrapped up the two-hour practice with a competition between kickers Ty Long and Colin Anderson. With their teammates cheering them on, Long and Anderson both connected on consecutive 50-plus yard field goals.

UAB opens the football season on Saturday, Sept. 1, hosting instate rival Troy at Legion Field, with kickoff set for 11 a.m. CT.