Football Sets Sights On Memphis

Senior Greg Irvin was one of four seniors that addressed the media on Monday

Nov. 12, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB football team held its weekly press conference on Monday to  review the Blazers' 38-31 win against Marshall last Saturday along with previewing the next opponent, Memphis.

UAB and Memphis will meet at Legion Field on Saturday, with game time set for 1 p.m. CT in the Battle for the Bones.  The Blazers hold a 10-4 advantage in the all-time series, and have won each of the last three meetings, including a thrilling comeback victory at Liberty Bowl Stadium last season.

The contest will air locally on the Blazer IMG Sports Network on WUHT-FM 107.7. The voice of the Blazers, David Crane, will call the game action with John Whitcomb providing analysis and Sam Miller reporting from the sidelines.

Head coach Garrick McGee, seniors Lamar Johnson, Greg Irvin and Chris Hubbard, along with junior Calvin Jones, all addressed the media on Monday.

Head Coach Garrick McGee

On the team coming together:
“I think we’re playing with a certain confidence level that you need in order to have success. You need to have confidence in yourself as an individual first, in the unit that you’re playing on, and then in our team and in our program.”

On the defensive performance:
“When you’re developing like we are, it’s a process. The kids have to buy in to the things the coaches are teaching on a daily basis, they have to trust each other, and the process takes a while. What we had to do is just trust the process and the things that we do every single day, and the things our coaches are preaching every single day. At some point it’ll sink in and we’ll start to have success. That’s what we did. We never wavered from our overall principles and values and they’re starting to sink in.”



On Memphis head coach Justin Fuente:
“It’s going to be pretty cool to coach against him. It’s like competing against your brother. We’re from the same hometown, and we were teammates in college. We were quarterbacks, so we sat in the same meeting room when I was a senior and he was a freshman. Throughout our coaching career, we’ve always stayed in contact. When I was at Northwestern and he was at Illinois State, our staffs would get together all the time and talk schemes, talk technique, talk principles and the way to go about teaching things. He’s one of my best friends in the business. I think he’s done a very good job at his career at TCU, and for him to be where he is now, as a head coach at the age that he is, and to see his team developing and getting better each week the way that they are, my hat goes off to him.”

On Marvin Burdette breaking the UAB tackles record:
“I think that he’s focusing on playing really good football for us and doing what he has to do to help us set our program up in the right direction. He is committed to playing the game the right way, competing the right way, preparing the right way. He really had a good understanding of Marshall’s quarterback and the way that he was going to set his feet and set his shoulders throughout the game. He was able to run and take away a lot of quick throws from him. When they ran the ball, he was able to understand based on where the back was set, his depth and his width, which direction the run was going to happen, so he could get to the ball. Then, it’s about playing with a certain level of effort and care about what’s going on. I don’t think he’s going to slow down; I’m not going allow that. I think he’s committed to finishing off the season as well as he can.”

On Greg Irvin:
“He’s played very well for us. He’s one of our emotional leaders; he’s an experienced guy, a very explosive player. He can play out in space, on the perimeter, against skilled receivers, and play attached to the box to stop the run. I think he’s another one of those guys that’s a very athletic, talented kid who has helped us a lot these last couple weeks.”

On Patrick Hearn:
“He’s fine. He’s back; he’s got a smile on his face. You have to take extra precaution in that type of situation because he did take a really big hit. He was released from the hospital that night, and I don’t think he has a headache right now. He’s a tough guy.”

On Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam:
“Their offensive scheme is a lot like ours. It’s more multiple. A lot of people in our conference play a spread out, four-wide, fast breaking offense, where we have the same type of philosophy (as Memphis). They’re going to be in a lot of unbalanced sets, running certain plays that a lot of teams in our conference don’t run, but we do. They’re going to be in a lot of tight end, fullback formations that a lot of teams don’t run in this conference. I think that their way of going about their offense, the way they’re teaching it, they way he calls the game, really protects the quarterback, and that’s what you have to do. You have to always think about your quarterback when you’re running an offense.”

On player confidence:
“I had no timeline of when we’d have success, I always said that, but I did have a fierce timeline out establishing the way we were going to go about our business. A lot of the things that we’re preaching, a lot of the foundation that we want to put in place about how we’re going to go about our business, it happens way before we get out on the field and actually play our game. I think that there have been a lot of things that have been established and set up throughout our program. There are hidden victories going on every day, and once we get enough of those built up, then the success will happen.”

Senior OL Chris Hubbard
On success of running game:

“Darrin (Reaves) is a great running back. It takes a lot for someone to bring him down. We feel good as an offensive line blocking for him and opening up lanes. We take a lot of pride in that and feel really good about ourselves.”

On the recent improvement of the offense:
“The offensive line has clicked. We’ve come together as a unit. Our running scheme has been very good during practice and it is all coming together on Saturdays. As an offensive leader, I tried to take a bigger step to help our guys and get them motivated for the games.”

Senior SAF Lamar Johnson
On the process of getting better:

“When Coach McGee came in, he told us there was going to be a process and a standard. He is trying to make us disciplined. Even when we weren’t winning, we had to believe in the process and that’s really starting to pay off now.”

On Memphis having a different offense than most of C-USA:
“Memphis’ offense is a lot like our offense. That will help us because we practiced against that type of offense everyday during the spring. I think we will be able to adjust to their offense.”

Senior LB Greg Irvin
On how the team has grown with a new coaching staff:

“We’ve had little victories; things such as going to class, going to your academic appointments, being on time for practice and workouts, and being ready for practice. Our defensive line coach (Jimmy Williams) has a saying ‘Be Where You Are.’ Wherever you are, that’s what you should be focused on. That’s the mentality that we take into everything we do.”

On Marvin Burdette:
“He’s a great guy. He does the little things right consistently. You see that consistency in his performance (on the field). As far as breaking the record, I’m excited for him. He was my roommate for three years. I got to grow with him. I learned a lot from him.”

Junior SAF Calvin Jones
On defensive improvement:

“The different game plan that Coach (Reggie) Johnson (defensive coordinator) put in and the different formations that we ran was a big change Saturday. The personnel groupings that the coaches use help us a lot.”

On Memphis’ offense:
“Coach McGee always explains to us to be patient so we will be able to make the play. We’re going to have to study film a lot more this week and keep an eye on what they do. I know they run a lot of screens and they have an empty formation. We see that all the time with our offense and that’s a big help for us because they run the same concepts that we do.”