Football Readies For Southeastern Louisiana

UABSPORTS.COM
Head coach Garrick McGee preps the team for Homecoming this week

UABSPORTS.COM
Head coach Garrick McGee preps the team for Homecoming this week
UABSPORTS.COM

Oct. 1, 2012

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB football team will play their final non-conference game of the season Saturday, Oct. 6, when the Blazers welcome the Southeastern Louisiana Lions to Legion Field. The contest, scheduled for a 2 p.m. CT kickoff, will mark UAB's Homecoming game in the first meeting between the two schools.

On Monday, head coach Garrick McGee along with senior linebacker Marvin Burdette, junior wide receiver Jackie Williams, senior wide receiver Patrick Hearn and junior defensive tackle Deric Scott addressed the media at the weekly luncheon.

McGee and the players discussed a variety of topics, including the recap of last week's contest against Tulsa and team morale heading into the week ahead. Also covered were updates on player injuries, and team preparation for the upcoming Southeastern Louisiana matchup.

UAB (0-4, 0-1, C-USA) enters the game looking for its first win of the 2012 campaign. The Blazers dropped a 49-42 shootout last week against visiting Tulsa. Southeastern Louisiana travels to Birmingham after defeating Lamar, 31-21, to move to 2-3 on the year and 2-0 in the Southland Conference.

Head Coach Garrick McGee

On thoughts after watching the Tulsa game film...
"It was the same as we thought during the game. We did not play very well; we did not consider the play the style of football that we're supposed to be playing. We pride ourselves on being an academic institution that values intelligent people and our football department did not execute. We need to do a better job."

On special teams...
"We spent a lot of time working on it. We had the same game plan that we had against Ohio State. The first punt that (Tulsa) had, Derek Slaughter ran free and could have blocked it. He learned from that and said `If I come free again, I'm going to go get it.' That was a kid that played the game how it should be played. He understood what happened, and then he went and blocked the second punt. My hat goes off to him. I'm surprised that (Tulsa) didn't make an adjustment after the first punt."

On impressions of the running game...
"I expected to do a lot more (running) than we did. Outside of Chris (Hubbard) and (Kaycee) Ike, everybody else was different on the inside (of the offensive line). Darrin Reaves is playing really good football for us right now. He gained positive yards multiple times. He ran tough and strong. I really like what he's doing for us right now."

On if encouraged by close games...
"No. That's what's so frustrating to me. We're losing these games by seven points. We're not playing very well at all. We're playing very good football teams. I was told that Tulsa was one of the best teams in our conference. I don't think we played very intelligently. We had the ball with seven minutes to go in a tie game with a chance to win. We need to do a better job of coaching and getting the players to think that we can play with anybody that we play against."

On the play of quarterback Austin Brown...
"He made some mistakes. He is a freshman so I do understand that he is going to make some mistakes. He gives us a really good chance to win. I think that he did a good job. He was able to throw the ball accurately to our guys. He made some plays scrambling. He was able to hang in there when things weren't going well, which is hard for a freshman to do. I wish there were some plays that we could have back, but I think he's growing and he's going to really help us. His ability to throw the ball from one hash mark to the sideline is hard to defend. Our receivers are going to be open consistently down the field."

On if the culture of UAB football is a problem...
"No we don't have any cultural problems. We just are not playing smart football. Our culture is changing. I think everyone in our athletic department thinks our culture is changing. Our kids are trying to do the right things, dressing the right way, thinking the right way, we've just got to be smart."

On team preparation...
"When you haven't won a game you continue the process. You continue to prepare as if we need to develop our team and make our team better. We are not going to do anything differently except for coaching better and playing better."

On team morale...
"I think they should be hanging their heads. All teams that are 0-4 should be hanging their heads. The difference between us and everyone else in the country is that we're playing really good teams. We're not playing very well and in the fourth quarter of the last two games we have had the ball with a chance to take the lead. It's a little bit different for us than most teams that are 0-4. It should be important to win. Our fans deserve better. Our program deserves better. If we can eliminate some of the mistakes, we can beat any team that we play." 

On Southeastern Louisiana...
"They have a tall quarterback. I know Nathan Stanley personally. I recruited him. He started at QB for Ole Miss. Now he's a senior. He's experienced. He knows how to play the game."

On offensive lineman Cameron Blankenship...
"He's a true freshman. I thought he hung in there and did a really good job. I really like that kid. It's really important to him that he does well. There are things that he has to get cleaned up because things happen a lot faster in the game than they do in high school or in practice. We're going to continue to play him. I thought he gave us an opportunity to win the game."

On offensive line injuries...
"There are two guys that have had pretty serious setbacks. Billy (Autrey) got to come back and play in the game but he sprained his ankle early. (Brian) O'Leary and Aaron (Green) will be out for sure." 

Senior LB Marvin Burdette

On the boot on his right foot...
"Just a minor setback. It's no big deal.  If it was up to me I would take this boot off and throw it somewhere else."

On his ability to play this Saturday...
"Definitely.  I hope to be on the field tomorrow."

On the defense's frustrations vs. Tulsa...
"It's always a struggle for a defense because you are always trying to get the offense to that one dimensional stage. For us, we knew they were going to run it and it's kind of frustrating because you work on it all week and you get in the game and you have a bad situation. For us, we always try to focus and try to eliminate all that frustration on defense."

On how to fix the mistakes from a previous game...
"You fix it by coming in that Sunday and watching film, watching your mistakes and then on Monday getting extra film and on Tuesday you're going out there practicing, focusing and getting those mental reps and just trying to stop all the aspects of anything that could possibly happen towards the game and trying to eliminate any mistakes."

On the struggle of this season and past seasons...
"Since I've been here it's been a struggle, and it's kind of hard because you always look up and say, `well it's not been so good since I've been here'. But with new coaches coming in and newfound confidence it's not hard at all. We had a tough start, but we just have to look at each other as a team and say we're 0-4 together and we have to try and fight it together."

Junior WR Jackie Williams

On if it surprised anyone on UAB's offense of the fourth quarter comeback...
"Not really, because we always try to fight until the clock is on zero and we practice a lot of situations where we're down in a tough situation and we just have to come from behind."

On quarterback Austin Brown's performance on Saturday...
"Austin did very well in his first start. Like coach said, he's a freshman but he's been getting a lot of reps with the ones in the last couple of weeks and throughout the camps. We are very comfortable with him out there."

On what Austin Brown is like in the huddle...
"He has good command. He's not nervous or shaky out there. He did very well in high school so it was just another day out there on the field."

Senior WR Patrick Hearn 

On the team morale...
"Well we're hanging our heads a little bit because it came down to the fourth quarter and we didn't win. As coach McGee pointed out yesterday, there were numerous plays on our side of the football where we were not on the same page at the same time, so we feel like there was more we could have done."

On playing tough teams close...
"With top teams we are proving we can hang with them. Come Sunday when we look back on film we see all the mistakes and things that could have made the game look different or make the outcome even better."

On what causes those mistakes...
"It's a lack of focus. It changes from player to player, with some people it's a lack of preparation, and with others it's their focus."

Junior DT Deric Scott

On what the difference was between the first half and the second half of the Tulsa game...
"We finally got adjusted to the pace of the game, because they came out with a different pace than we thought. Once we got the pace of the game going, we finally got our groove going."

On Tulsa's quarterback going for a long run...
"That's just us having to work on the little things as far as tackling as a defense. That is one of our weak points. Once we get that situated, that won't happen again."