Tight Ends, Corners Making Strides Under New Coaches

Aug 22, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB football team worked out in shorts Thursday morning as the Blazers near the start of their first game week of the season.

UAB opens the 2013 season a week from Saturday when it travels to take on the Troy Trojans in a 6 p.m. kickoff at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Tight ends coach Joe Henry, along with special teams and assistant secondary coach Matt Sanders, spoke to the media following Thursday’s session and both first-year Blazer coaches are upbeat about what they’ve seen from their units. 

Henry has one of the best in Conference USA at his position in junior Kennard Backman, but he says others will definitely contribute this season.

“I like the tight ends that we’re working with because every guy has specific things that he’s really good at,” said Henry, a former tight end himself at Arkansas.

“Bud Pruitt’s going to help us a lot this year, he’s a fifth-year senior and a program guy. He’s a physical blocker.  Grant Davis has really good hands and he’s a big guy with big feet.  Steve Pickren also plays very aggressively.  He’s a high energy guy and plays through the whistle. “



Henry also said he’s seen noticeable improvement the past two weeks and the offseason played a part in that.

“Our conditioning has improved considerably, Henry said.  “Coach (Dwayne) Chandler and his staff did a good job throughout the summer of getting our guys in a position to play football.  Those first days on the field are always different than running around on the track in the summer time.  So conditioning has improved, I feel like everybody’s knowledge overall has gotten better.”

Sanders will coach all facets of special teams this season.

“I’m happy to do all four,” Sanders said. “It’s the first time I’ve been in charge of all four.  It’s a great challenge.  It forces you to grow.  It forces you to become a better football coach. I’m enjoying the experience and I’m looking forward to our making some plays in the kicking game.”

Sanders said he and Brandon Sharp, the Blazers secondary coach who was a teammate of Sanders at Louisville, have an excellent rapport, on and off the field.

“I’m coaching the corners,” Sander said.  “Coach Sharp and I work closely together.  We have a great relationship.  We all have to be in sync in the back.  The corners and the safeties, we all have to know what everyone’s doing, so we eliminate mental errors and the possibility of big plays.  We have a lot of fun working together.” 

Blazer fans will be able to kick off the 2013 season in fun fashion Saturday, Aug. 24 when the annual Football Fan Day is held at The Outlet Shops of Grand River. The event will be held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the main entrance near the food court.

Ticket information for 2013 home games can be found on www.uabsports.com 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.