Football Previews C-USA Opener At Media Luncheon

Coach Garrick McGee addressed the media on Monday.

Sept. 24, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB football team (0-3, 0-0 C-USA) began preparations for its Conference USA opener this weekend, as the squad welcomes the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (3-0, 1-0 C-USA) to Birmingham on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. CT at Legion Field. 

On Monday, head coach Garrick McGee along with sophomore placekicker Ty Long, junior offensive lineman Kaycee Ike and junior safety Calvin Jones addressed the media at the weekly luncheon. 

McGee and the players discussed a variety of topics, including the team's continuous improvement throughout the first four weeks of this season and what the fans can expect to see Saturday. Also covered were last week’s loss to then No. 16 Ohio State, and this week’s upcoming Tulsa matchup. 

The Blazers gave Ohio State all it could handle before dropping a tight 29-15 decision last Saturday at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. In that contest, the Blazers outgained the Buckeyes, 403-347, in total offense. 

UAB Head Coach Garrick McGee

On team fans will see in first home game in a month:
“They will see a team that understands themselves. We know who we are. We know what our strengths are and what our weaknesses are. They are going to see a team that really cares about this program and one that plays with a lot of pride and passion.”

On scoring touchdowns:
“The point is to score touchdowns against whoever you’re playing. We have shown that we can move the ball, the next step is to get our red zone offense in gear, which we will do this week in practice. I don’t think it will be a problem.”



On distribution of carries:
“It’s a part of us trying to get ready for conference play. It helps us understand who is a horse, who we can give the football over and over. There was a third down-and-one late in the third quarter and [Ohio State] had the play blocked, there was a linebacker standing in the hole. Darrin [Reaves] ran straight through him for the first down. We learned a lot about him during the game.” 

On if he will use two QB system:
“No. Obviously these games count. I took the job to win the Conference USA championship. There will be one quarterback playing. I’m not going to say who that is right now. There is still a lot of practice left this week. I have an idea of who it might be, but I won’t say it until the game.”

On differences in QBs Austin Brown and Jonathan Perry:
“They both run the ball just okay. The only time you have to do different things is when one quarterback is a passer, and the other is a runner. Then you have to change your offense. These two guys are about the same. They throw it well. They run it just good enough to hurt you. It’s pretty much the same thing.” 

On what he learned about Austin Brown:
“I learned that he did understand what was going on. He did know the coverages and came to the sideline and communicated really well. He threw the ball efficiently. The ball was flying out of his hand. He gave our guys a chance to get yards after the catch. For a freshman that hasn’t been out there much, I thought he did a pretty good job.”

On starting conference play:
“I feel good about our team. I know who we are now. I know who the players are. I know who can compete consistently. I know the guys that can run certain routes well. I know which runners run certain plays well. We know which defensive guys can play the right way. We know which corners play man defense the best.”

On Tulsa:
“They are really talented. They’ve got great players and a really good coach. They are leading the league in rushing, and are second in the league in rush defense. We are going to need a maximum effort.”

On onside kick:
“The decision (to try the onside kick) was based on our game plan. It was a well thought out decision. Ty (Long) wanted to kick it towards our sideline to give us the best chance to recover. We are going to play to win. We are not going to save our stuff. If we have things in our pocket, we are going to use it to try to win the game.”

On how Tulsa compares to two previous opponents:
“Tulsa’s base defense is close to the same as South Carolina and Ohio State’s defenses. They pressure the quarterback really well. They lead the nation in sacks. It’s about the same in regards to scheme.”

On coming back home:
“We are really excited to get back on our home field and play in front of our home crowd. The crowd did a great job supporting us in the Troy game. They stayed the whole game. But we didn’t perform the way I would have liked.” 

Sophomore PK Ty Long

On the team's hunger for the first victory…
“Our team is ready to get out there. We are excited for this week’s practice to get better and learn from our mistakes and capitalize on them and make sure they don’t happen again.

On the team fixing mistakes…
“The last three games we’ve played, we’ve had some mental mistakes and physical mistakes, but we’ve fixed them and we were in all three games. In the beginning of the fourth quarter at Ohio State the place was quiet. So we were definitely in all three games, but we are excited to fix the mistakes and get back our there and play Tulsa this Saturday.”

On UAB playing Ohio State tough…
“We knew with the athletes we have and how hard we worked all summer and all the time we’ve put in, we could hang with a team like [Ohio State]. [If] we fix four plays we probably win that game. Like Coach McGee always says, four plays decide a game. We just have to know which plays they are and we just have to give 100 percent for each one.”

Junior OL Kaycee Ike

On what the fans will see compared to first game against Troy…
“I feel like they’ll see a more prepared team. The offense is running a lot crisper and everything will seem to flow. Last time we had a lot of mistakes, a lot of penalties and we were playing through the rain so that affected things a little bit. This time around it will be more fluid and I feel like we’ll score a lot of points.”

On if the team has watched film on Tulsa…
“We’ve watched a little film. I remember the team from last year, there were a lot of young players so they come back with experience. We’ve gotten to know their personnel a little.”

On Tulsa leading the FBS in sacks (17) and if there is much change from Ohio State and South Carolina…
“Not exactly, I don’t see a change. Their defensive line is pretty good so at the end of the day, we have to prepare the same way we prepared when we went up against South Carolina or Ohio State.  They may not be as hyped as the other teams but they [Tulsa] probably have the same talent.”

On returning to Legion Field for a home game…
“It’s good to play at home because we haven’t been here the last couple weeks. It’s good to have the fans behind you and seeing all the crowd support. That feeling of being at home is next to none.”

On penalties by the offensive line against Ohio State…
"The penalties came from a lot of miscommunication but those penalties will be fixed because we’ve watched film and worked on eliminating those type of errors from even possible happening."

Junior SAF Calvin Jones

On if the team’s preparation is any different heading into conference play…
“Each week we plan to get better and better. Just because its conference play, we’re not looking at any different but we are progressing and getting better.”

On the tough non-conference schedule preparing the team for conference play…
“We know Tulsa is a very good team. Ohio State and South Carolina were good competition for us to get us prepared for conference play. I think we’re going to compete well and be on the rise towards our goal of the Conference USA championship.”

On if the fans will see a different team Saturday…
“I’ve heard a lot of people say they’ve seen a lot of improvement over the last few weeks. We’re prepared to play at home and we want our fans to come out to show them we can win.”