Football Previews Troy Game At Media Luncheon

UABSPORTS.COM
UABSPORTS.COM

UABSPORTS.COM

Aug 26, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---Head coach Garrick McGee and several members of the UAB football team spent time previewing its upcoming game against Troy at Monday's media luncheon on the UAB campus. 

The Blazers face off against the Trojans at 6 p.m. CT Saturday at Troy's Veterans Memorial Stadium. 

On Monday, McGee, along with junior tight end Kennard Backman, senior linebacker Patrick Bastien, senior linebacker D.J. White  and senior offensive lineman Billy Autrey spent time talking with media members. 

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.

Below are quotes from Monday's luncheon:

Head Coach Garrick McGee

On challenges that Troy's offense presents ...
"Whenever you have returning starters at quarterback, in which they have two, that creates problems. One of them is a very good passer and the other one is a dual-athlete. They are going to play him at running back and receiver some. He is a weapon. We recruited him coming out of his junior college. We know that he is explosive."


 

 

On excitement level of team to play Troy Week One ...
"On opening night, everybody is going to be charged up all over the country. Going into our second year, we do know that this is a rivalry game."

On UAB's quarterback rotation ...
"Both guys are going to play. Austin (Brown) is going to start the game but Jonathan (Perry) will be out there. I expect both of them to perform at a very high level. I expect a more settled, relaxed version of both kids. I know our team is confident in both of them, but I am excited to see both of them out there playing."

On the quarterbacks possibly worried about coming out of the game at a particular time ... 
"They have spent a lot of time together. I am open with the quarterbacks. I spend all of my time with them. I am in the meeting room with them. We have open conversations about where we are every day. I don't think they are worried about making mistakes or playing with any pressure. They know that we are one of the few teams in this country that has two quarterbacks capable of taking us where we want to go."

On the quarterbacks taking fewer sacks this season ... 
"The play calling will be a little different. To me, sacks are an 11-man operation. The receivers have to hit their landmarks at the right time, the tight ends have to know if they are in the protection or out of the protection, the offensive line has to deal with the four down guys and possibly a fifth defender, the running backs have to be in the protection, and the quarterbacks have to make their reads and get the ball out on time. All of our guys understand our system better. They understand more about defensive structure so I think we will be able to manage the sack situation."

On sophomore LB Jake Ganus ...
"He's looking really good. He's bigger. He's one of the guys that really cares about this program. He plays hard every down. He's a matchup problem in pass protection because he's so big and athletic for an offensive tackle."

On senior CB Cortez Webb changing positions ... 
"We shuffled the deck. We are trying to get everybody in the best position to be the best that they can be. Jay Davis started at receiver for us last year, and after evaluating the film, we thought he would be a fit at safety. With Cortez, we watched him in individual drills in the offseason. He has really fast feet and he's tall. Based on the coverages that we are playing now, we thought that he would fit better at cornerback. He's physical, fast, long, an upperclassman and a winner. He gives us a lot of length at the position."

On billboards around city promoting the football team ...
"I think this city is starving for a winning football program.  If we can accomplish the things that we are looking forward to accomplishing, then we can make a lot of citizens of this city very happy. I like the billboards. We tried to put different kids on them throughout the city to not only promote our players, but also to show how important our football program and athletics are to this city."

On a different feel in the program in Year Two ...
"The difference is between me and my team. We are more comfortable with each other. The spirit, the vibe, and the chemistry of our team are a lot different. That's only fair because we didn't know each other as well as we do now. We have been through a whole offseason together now. We have had different people come in and talk to our team about how team chemistry and team spirit is more important than talent. I do not think we have one kid on this team who has not bought into the things that we are teaching them. That gives us an opportunity to have success."

Junior TE Kennard Backman

On billboards around Birmingham that promote UAB ... 
"Personally, I really like the billboards. I think it shows how much the city cares about us and how much we need to win. I've seen a lot of different players up their and its really exciting."

On challenges Troy will present defensively ... 
"Defensively, we need to attack and stay with our foot on the pedal. I'm really excited about the game plan that we have and right now I think it is just about execution."

On excitement of game week after long fall camp ... 
"Fall camp is definitely a hard point for a lot of college football players. But it is game week. There is a different feel, a different vibe, a different attitude and you have to go in there with a different mindset."

Senior LB D.J. White

On how linebackers feel going into opening game ... 
"Confident. Patrick Bastien and me are two senior leaders with two young guys behind us in Dustin Challenger and Shaq Jones. We have a lot of talent and depth and the younger guys are mature for their age. I think we are all ready for this week."

On confidence going into Game One this year compared to last ... 
"It is Week One so everyone, everywhere is confident and ready to play. We are just going to go out and give it our best."

On the defense being more experienced this season ... 
"I think the biggest thing this offseason is that we needed to mature. Last year we had a lot of freshmen that played and we moved some guys around and changed our defense. I think we have guys in the right spots now and guys who are capable of making plays."

Senior LB Patrick Bastien

On playing in his senior year ...
"I'm very excited. I'm just focused on trying to go out with a bang. Everything is in place this year, and I just can't wait to go out there on Saturday and start the journey."

On the rivalry with Troy ...
"It's a rivalry. They bring it every year, and I know we are going to bring it. I love the fans. The fans are engaged probably more than any other game except Southern Miss. Looking forward to seeing them. I know they are going to be excited. We are really excited."

On the experience on the defensive side of the ball ...
"At practice you could see that the experience and comfort level was through the roof. I think we are farther along schematically compared to where we were last year. It is simpler, but we are able to do more things and show more things. I think everybody is more comfortable. All the freshmen that we had that played last year have all grown up. We have done a lot of growing up in one year."

Senior OL Billy Autrey

On the experience of the offensive line ...
"We have a lot more familiarity. We didn't have much experience in our offensive line (going into last season), and now we have a year under our belts. We have a lot more depth this year too, which should be a big help."

On giving up fewer sacks ...
"Experience is going to be a big factor (in giving up fewer sacks). Playing in Division One football games is a big step up from playing in high school games. We are a lot more familiar with our competition."

On adjusting to two quarterbacks ...
"They are pretty similar. Their cadences are similar. There isn't much difference between them, so it doesn't really affect us. As long as they continue to play similarly, we should be fine."

On the rivalry with Troy ...
"It's big. We have lost to them the last two years, and I was here when we beat them on the last play of the game. That was one of my best moments since I've been here. It's a big rivalry, and we want to beat them bad."