Football Set For Saturday's Home Opener

UABSPORTS.COM
UABSPORTS.COM

UABSPORTS.COM

Sept. 16, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - UAB football previewed Saturday's home opener at its weekly media luncheon on Monday. 

Head coach Garrick McGee, along with senior running back Greg Franklin, junior offensive lineman Brian O'Leary, sophomore linebacker Jake Ganus and freshman safety Nick Jackson, addressed reporters as the Blazers look ahead to Saturday's battle against Northwestern (La.) State. 

Kickoff for the 2013 home opener at Legion Field is set for 2 p.m. CT. Ticket information can be found by calling the UAB Athletic Ticket Office at (205) 975-8221. 

Head Coach Garrick McGee

On Northwestern State...
"I think they are very well coached. Their defensive coordinator (Chris Boone) was at Jacksonville State last year. They have a really exotic pressure package. There are some things that they are doing with their blitzes that no one else does. They force you to understand what you are doing on offense. Their offensive coordinator (Robby Brown) came from Valdosta State, where they put up a lot of numbers. He has very good passing game concepts with run plays where there are pass routes being run off of those run plays. If you want to be aggressive and stop the run, then the quarterback can pull the ball out and throw a pass."


 

 

On the first home game...
"I know our team is looking forward to playing in our home stadium in front of the Birmingham citizens and in front of our students. (UAB President) Dr. (Ray) Watts has done a really good job of pushing our faculty, staff, and student body into the stadium this weekend to see our team play. Our team is ready to get win No. 1 and to play in front of our fans here in Birmingham."

On changing anything to counter Northwestern State's blitz packages...
"Our offense is complex enough to deal with whatever we see. We just have to be on our game and understand where to go with the ball in the game based on certain pressures. Most of the time, when you get a certain blitz, you will get certain coverage. They run the same blitzes, but with different coverages behind it, so they force the quarterback to do something different with the ball. We have to train our kids to react the right way when it happens."

On freshman SAF Nick Jackson playing at LSU...
"I have been very impressed with him since we first saw him. I have been impressed with him as a person, not just as a player. He played well against Troy. He's an intense kid. He's fast. He enjoys tackling. We've just got to get him settled down on the field. Most young kids go through that."

On Jackson playing as a true freshman...
"He's competitive. He's a very intelligent football player. He understands concepts and passing game structure. He played defensive end in high school, which was just about running and hitting. Standing in the back end of the defense is a little weird for him. He doesn't surprise us when he plays well."

On freshman RB Jordan Howard...
"We all knew that he was a good player from the first day that he walked on campus. I think the reason that he does well is because (running backs) Darrin (Reaves) and Greg (Franklin) do a really good job teaching him what we are doing on offense. He's a very intelligent kid."

On senior QB Jonathan Perry...
"When you are a quarterback and you deal with the ball every snap of the game, to have one fumbled exchange does not set you back. We are not down on Jonathan because the ball touched the ground when he was out there. I think our offense has done a good job only committing one turnover all season."

Senior RB Greg Franklin

On the overall attitude of the team...
"Our attitude is still good. We are disappointed in the first two losses, of course, but we have to put those losses behind us and focus on Northwestern State. We are looking forward to our first home game- we can't wait to play."

On the performance of freshman RB Jordan Howard...
"Jordan came in over the summer and did a good job of learning all the plays. He did a better job than I did learning coach McGee's system. He really just did a good job of learning all the plays, executing, and knowing what to do. It looked like he kept his composure, he didn't panic or anything. He stayed relaxed and did what he had to do."

On competition between the running backs...
"We always compete during practice. If Jordan is out there doing his thing, then I am on the sidelines cheering him on. Once it is my turn I want to go out there and do my thing. Darrin (Reaves) is the same way as well, so we all want to play hard and compete."

Junior OL Brian O'Leary

On the attitude of the team...
"I think we are just hungry for our first win, so we are just trying to stay positive and get ready for our first win."

On freshman RB Jordan Howard..
"I think he played good. He has been doing well all camp, so we didn't expect anything else."

On the play of the offensive line...
"I think we have seen some progress with understanding the grand scheme of things. I think there is still room for improvement. We need to be more physical at times and work on learning more about protections, if they slide their front, and other different schemes the defense does."

Sophomore LB Jake Ganus

On freshman SAF Nick Jackson's performance at LSU... 
"That was very impressive. He is a really good, hard-nosed football player. I didn't expect anything less of him. I expect him to do that every game."

On team's outlook after two losses... 
"It's all positive. No one is looking back on it. No one is negative. We are ready to go get our first win this weekend and that is all we are worried about."

Freshman SAF Nick Jackson

On improvements on defense... 
"Hustling to the play. We preach that a lot in practice that we need to hustle to the ball. We work on incomplete passes, being there to pick it up just in case because you never know what can happen. They could fumble the ball and we could pick it up and run it in for a touchdown. Just hustling to the ball, staying focused and doing our job."

On improvements in UAB's pass defense... 
"We work on defending the pass and the run. Coach McGee wants us to be an all-around, complete team so we work on hard-nosed running with everyone coming downhill to make the hit. We also work on the passing game and disguise it to mess with the quarterback's head so it can put us in position to get an interception or pass breakup."

 
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