Aug. 9, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB football team held its first preseason scrimmage late Saturday afternoon at the practice fields. The Blazers scrimmaged for more than two hours, with the first offense taking on the second defense and the second offense going against the first defense.
UAB head coach Neil Callaway was pleased with the amount and quality of work that the team got in. He also commended the competition on both the offense and defense.
"I thought we got a lot of good work in," said Callaway. "I thought we got a lot of snaps in and had a lot of good competition on both sides of the ball."
The highlight of the day was the performance of the offense. Junior quarterback Joe Webb led the first offense, going 18-of-27 for 237 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also led all players with 133 yards rushing on seven attempts and two touchdowns.
Freshman quarterback David Isabelle and senior quarterback Rodney Bivens both saw action with the second offense. Isabelle was 6-of-14 for 75 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Bivens finished the day 3-of-9 for 20 yards.
Other than Webb, senior running back Aaron Johns had a big day on the ground for the Blazers, racking up 90 yards on 19 carries. Redshirt freshman Jae Fitzgerald rushed for 63 yards on nine attempts and sophomore Justin Brooks had 59 yards on 12 carries.
Sophomore Justin Johnson was the standout of the receiving corps, tallying 102 yards on five receptions, including two in the end zone. Junior Darryl Harris caught four passes for 41 yards and sophomore Frantrell Forrest had 26 yards on two catches. Sophomore Cameron Thompson had the only other receiving touchdown of the day, catching a 19-yard TD pass from Isabelle.
"Today is the first time that I saw Aaron Johns on this football field and feel that he could be a difference-maker. I think it was obvious today that he can make a difference with the ball in his hand."
Despite all of the positive feedback about the offense, Callaway felt that the defense is an area that needs to improve the most. Callaway feels that the place to start to make the defense better is the front line.
"The first defense has to play better," said Callaway. "For our second offense to be that effective against our first defense is not good.
"I think my biggest concern, when I go back and look at the film, is still going to be up front defensively. I am concerned with how we can hold up in that area and how we can do better than we did last year."
The players will have the day off Sunday before going through their first two-a-day practice on Monday.
UAB will open the 2008 season on Aug. 30 when they host Conference USA foe Tulsa. Kickoff is schedule for 3 p.m. CT at Legion Field.