UAB Football Previews Season Opener At Media Luncheon

UABSPORTS.COM Head coach Garrick McGee makes his head coaching debut with the Blazers on Saturday
Head coach Garrick McGee makes his head coaching debut with the Blazers on Saturday

Aug. 27, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB football team eagerly awaits the 2012 season opener vs. Troy, slated for Saturday at Legion Field with kick off at 11 a.m. CT. 

On Monday, first-year head coach Garrick McGee met with the media for the first of his weekly press conferences.  McGee, along with wide receiver Jackie Williams, defensive lineman Deric Scott, offensive lineman Chris Hubbard and kicker Ty Long, previewed this weekend's matchup with the Trojans.

McGee, who will be making his head-coaching debut with the Blazers, has been pleased with his team efforts throughout fall camp, but still feels there are areas the team needs to fine tune before Saturday.

"I like the sacrifices that they have made so far," McGee said.  "We still have a lot of work to do this week in our final preparation before the game."

UAB and Troy have battled down to the wire the last two years, with each team winning at home by one point.  In 2010 at Legion Field, UAB was victorious on a last second 44-yard `Hail Mary' from quarterback Bryan Ellis to wide receiver Jackie Williams.  Last season, the Trojans repaid the favor, scoring 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to erase a nine-point deficit.

Saturday's game will air on Fox College Sports with Mike Gleason (pxp) and Ben Leber (analyst) on the call.  The contest will also air locally on the Blazer IMG Sports Network on WUHT-FM 100.7.  The voice of the Blazers, David Crane will call the game action with John Whitcomb providing analysis.  The pregame show will begin at 10 a.m. CT.

Head Coach Garrick McGee

Impressions of Troy...
"Like I've said in the past, I have coached against Troy twice at Arkansas and they were an extremely dangerous team. Their offense is at a fast tempo that can give you a lot of problems and it'll let their quarterback get into a rhythm; he (QB Corey Robinson) can really control the game, control the tempo of the game, and control completion after completion. The defensive front has always been one of the top defensive fronts that we've seen and nothing has changed. They've got two really good junior college defensive tackles. Two guys that I know personally, that I recruited that are from the same school, so I know those kids. Troy's coaches have been together for a long time, so they have a way of going about their business. We have all the respect in the world for Troy."

On Troy's quarterback Corey Robinson being a three-year starter...
"You can tell if a quarterback is experienced or not by how they deal with blitz and pressure. I think they are at the point where he understands where the outlets are, where the fastest completions are. So if you catch him off guard with a blitz, he knows where to get the ball. His reaction time is really fast. We cannot allow him to just sit back and pitch off of a mound and not apply pressure to him, and not give him different looks. Our defensive tackles have to push the pocket in the middle to push him off of his set point. (Defensive Coordinator) Reggie (Johnson) and our defensive staff have got to show him certain defenses that play other defenses, simple as all over the place, just to affect what he is thinking. I think then we can slow him down, but if we let him pick our defense apart then we're going to really have to score a lot of points."

On the rivalry between UAB and Troy...
"I really haven't gotten to immerse myself in the rivalry aspect. I know it's the first game of the season for us. We are really committed to playing a good game and give our crowd something to be proud of and giving the city of Birmingham something to be proud of. I'm sure that as the week goes on our players, Tyson Helton and the guys that have been around will be talking to me more about the rivalry. I am just committed to putting a product on the field that the fans can be proud of."

On where the team stands right now going into week one...
"Most of it is mental. I like our team a lot. I like the sacrifices that they have made so far. We still have a lot of work to do this week in our final preparation before the game. We are one of those crews that believe the hay is never in the barn. We will have a walk-thru at 6:45 Saturday morning and we will learn more about our opponent and ourselves that morning. We continue preparation up until kickoff."

On where the offensive line stands...

"They've done a really good job. It all starts with a hiring a really good coach. We hired John Peterson and he is a really great coach. He has coached in the national championship game several times, and he has played the offensive line at a really high level. He does a good job of getting our guys to appreciate playing offensive line. Everyone wants to talk about the offensive line because we lost everyone outside of Chris (Hubbard), but I do not think it is a weak point. I am not concerned with the offensive line going into the game. I expect them to come out and execute our plays at a high level."

Junior WR Jackie Williams

On the UAB fan base...
"Our fans have been great, coming out and supporting us at the scrimmages, and at fan day, and we're really looking forward to that intensity at Saturday's game."

On the offense...
"Our offense is practicing at a much higher pace this year. Our practices have been high tempo, and we just have to go out there and get into our opponent's faces. We go into our games with the mentality that we can defeat our opponent, and that should give us our edge."

On combatting Troy...
"Troy plays with a lot of energy, so we have to go out there and disrupt that, keep from letting them get into a rhythm. Knocking them off track, letting our defense put pressure on the quarterback will be important. Our defensive line has learned so much this year with the new schemes, and from what I've seen, it'll keep them off balance."

Senior OL Chris Hubbard

On Saturday's game...

"This has always been a big rivalry game for us. Saturday just can't get here any faster. We just have to come out and play Troy as hard as we can, we have to match their energy. Troy has some very quick defensive ends, so matching their alignments is going to be important for us."

On the preparedness of the offensive line...
"The offensive line is doing a good job. Coach Petersen has really helped us prepare for this game during this week. Coming out on Saturday will show off all that we've done in practice this camp. Coach McGee has taught us a lot, motivated us a lot. He and the all the coaches have done a good job at getting us ready to come out and take a very big step on Saturday."

Sophomore K Ty Long

On the game vs. Troy...
"It's definitely a big game. We're excited; we've been working for it all summer. We're ready to get out there and kick (the game) off."

On knowing the game could come down to a field goal...
"I try not to look at it like that. I look at it as just another kick and focus on doing everything I've practiced all through camp. I'm excited for those opportunities I get."

Junior DT Deric Scott

On how the defense will be different...
"We are going to be pursuers. All 11 men are running to the ball and gang-tackling instead of just one or two hands to the ball."

On challenges Troy's offense presents...
"The way the quarterback takes the ball (from the shotgun). We have to pick up on the different cadences they have. Instead of being in a three-point stance, their offensive line stands in a two-point stance. That makes it more difficult for our pre-snap reads." 



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