Blazers Hold Morning Practice In Full Pads

Garrick McGee's UAB football team is nearing the conclusion of its first week of preseason camp.

Aug. 12, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- The UAB football team was on the practice field for just over two hours Monday morning, working out in full pads in the first of two sessions to be held during the day. The Blazers will return to the field later in the day Monday for a 5 p.m. practice.

Now a week into preseason camp, Blazers' head coach Garrick McGee said he's been pleased with what he's seen thus far.

"I think it's gone very well," the second-year UAB head coach said. "We've been very fortunate. We haven't had any severe injuries that are going to hold anybody back. When you practice as fast and as physical as we like to practice, it's a blessing. I just enjoy the chemistry of this team. We enjoy being on the field together."

McGee said he feels good about the weapons he has available this season.

"We're going to play team ball," he said. "Our defense is going to play better. We've got multiple weapons on offense, multiple quarterbacks, multiple running backs. We're watching these freshmen come alive. (Freshman WR) Jamari Staples and (freshman RB) Jordan Howard had huge days today.

"(Tight end) Kennard Backman, I think, is an NFL player, no doubt. I coached D.J. Williams (at Arkansas) before, and he won the Mackey Award. Kennard's a little bit bigger, more physical, stronger. So, we've got multiple weapons on this team."

McGee also spent some time in the post-practice press conference addressing the dismissal of senior wide receiver Jackie Williams last Friday.

"I've thought about it a lot," McGee said. "I do think I made a mistake when I released that Jackie was no longer with our team, that I left it as undisclosed reasons. That really left everybody an opportunity to speculate. And was told that there was speculation about him getting in trouble with the law or flunking a drug test or something, and none of that's true.



"The mistake I made was when I released it as undisclosed reasons, I gave an opportunity to speculate on what it could be and that really wasn't fair to the kid. So, I wanted to clear it up that the kid has not gotten into any trouble around here. He is not a trouble maker. He has not failed any drug tests around here.

"It's just the direction I'm headed in, the culture of the program has to change. And the culture of the program overrides talent, in my opinion. I think this program has had very good talent on the team before I got here, but we've never won. So when I asked the team, tell me the reason we haven't won, they said it's the culture. That's the reason. That's what I'm after. That's what has to be changed and that's pretty much the reason I made the decision I made."

Following Monday afternoon's practice, the Blazers will be back on the field Tuesday morning.

Ticket information for 2013 home games can be found on or by calling the UAB ticket office at 205-975-8221. For the latest news on the UAB football team, as well as all Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics.