Aug. 18, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- Now just two weeks away from the 2012 season opener, the UAB football team went through its second scrimmage of preseason camp here Saturday and head coach Garrick McGee saw some things he liked and a few others that he knows the Blazers need to improve upon.
UAB, which opens the season Saturday, Sept. 1 at home against in-state foe Troy (11 a.m., Fox College Sports TV) was more efficient offensively Saturday than a week ago in the first scrimmage, especially with its passing game. The Blazer running backs again showed why they expect to be a formidable group this season.
"It wasn't as crisp and clean," McGee said of the running game, "but our running backs are really physical and break a lot of tackles and have strong lower bodies, which are the type of guys that I like.
"Those guys are tough to stop when they get rolling and they all show up with good attitudes. "
Sophomore Darrin Reaves led the way for the rushers with 110 yards on only eight carries, including a 48-yard touchdown jaunt on the first drive of the scrimmage. Junior Greg Franklin ran for 48 yards on eight attempts while senior Dontavius Jackson rushed for 44 yards on six carries and also scored a pair of touchdowns for the second straight scrimmage.
Redshirt freshman Bashr Coles, who also is expected to see significant playing time this fall, added 23 yards on the ground on six rushes.
McGee was pleased with the intensity of Saturday's scrimmage.
"(Practice) was really physical, it was a grind," he said. "We worked really hard today and got a lot of goal-line work in at the end. I've always done the goal line work at the end when everyone is tired. That's when you have to dig in tough, stay low to the ground, run hard and trust your technique."
Junior quarterback Jonathan Perry was improved from the scrimmage last Saturday, hitting 12-of-16 passes for 188 yards with two touchdowns (55 yards to Nick Adams and 26 yards to Patrick Hearn). Perry also had two interceptions in the scrimmage.
I thought (Perry) was efficient," said McGee. "He still holds the ball a little long, needs to get the ball out of his hands, but I thought he was efficient. Our staff did a good job of understanding what he does best."
Redshirt freshman signal caller Austin Brown passed for 88 yards as he hit 8-of-11 passes with a touchdown toss and two interceptions.
Among the wide receivers, Adams led the way with three catches for 87 yards with a touchdown. Jay Davis had a pair of catches for 40 yards with Hearn catching two passes for 31 yards, including the 26-yard score from Perry.
McGee said turnovers are a big part of being successful.
"Our defensive staff has done a good job of emphasizing turnovers," McGee said. "We do a turnover circuit every single day. Our guys are taught to go after the football and stop the ball. I thought Cornelius (Richards) made a great break on the sideline and got an interception, there were a couple of tipped balls, guys were able to run under them because they are playing hard.
"That is how you get turnovers, by playing with a lot of intensity and maximum effort and good things happen."