Nov. 19, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The UAB football team shifts its focus to the season finale as head coach Garrick McGee leads his squad against UCF Saturday at 11 a.m. CT at Bright House Networks Stadium.
The Blazers, who are 3-8 this season, close out the year looking for their third Conference USA victory of the season.
UCF enters Saturday’s contest at 8-3 overall and 6-1 in conference play. A win for the Knights would mean a C-USA East Division Championship and would secure their spot in the C-USA Championship Game.
Head Coach Garrick McGee
On the effects of success before the Memphis game:
“I think that I started it. What I’ve learned in my first year is that the approach, the way that you motivate your team throughout the week has to be a certain way. It’s very tricky to make sure you use the right words, the right demeanor week in and week out. Our coaching staff and players would say that once we lost to Tulane, I really turned the pressure up on everyone around here. I was really mean, and I forced everyone in our building to really concentrate on doing things right. We won a couple games, and I really do think that I backed off. I thought that things were headed in the right direction and I was starting to see signs of our team coming to life, so I turned down some of the intensity and some of the pressure. Obviously it was a really big mistake on my part, and I think that’s why we got the performance we got. It’ll never happen to me again in my career. I learned a lot. This is my first run at head coaching, and I’ve learned that when you feel like things are going well, you don’t back off. You move forward and you turn up the intensity even more. That’s what I’ve learned. Talking to my guys over the last couple days about what happened in the game, I learned that you don’t back off when things are going well.”
On quarterback Austin Brown:
“He has a groin injury that he’s dealing and it’s affecting his movements. He’s not moving as well as we’d like, but he’s doing a good job managing the game for us. In a game where you fall behind by so many points, it’s hard to come back when you’re feeling like he is. When it’s a tight game, you can use your running back to get the pressure off the quarterback, but when they score touchdowns on the first four possessions of the game, when they have not had as much success before, that puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback and it affected him.
On Brown staying in at starting quarterback:
“We’re in the process of developing our program. We want Austin to feel that pain. I want him to understand how that felt like, so in the offseason, as he’s thinking and preparing for the next season, he understands how that really hurts to perform like that and to have our team perform like that. I’m invested in Austin right now. Quarterbacks have to have thick skin. You get so much credit when you win, but when you lose you take all the blame. I always tell the quarterbacks that it’s the head coach and the quarterback that get to talk to the media about why you won or why you lost. The quarterback needs the training and that’s why I left him out there. In the long run, it’s going to help.”
“They’re well coached. George O’Leary is very experienced. I got to spend time with George at the head coaches meetings. He’s a really good guy; he actually reached out to me to give me advice on certain things. I really appreciate him, and he’s got a lot of very good players. They have a really sound scheme, it’s not complex at all on offense or defense. They just do what they do and they do it very well. When you’re playing teams like that, you have to make sure you’re playing the game the way you’re supposed to be playing, which is exactly where we need to go anyway this week.”
On UCF RB Latavius Murray
“UCF’s offense is a lot like our offense. It’s not a complete spread out, fast break, and attack. It’s more of a pro-style offense, and old-school way of running power plays. I got to meet him as well. He’s tall and very athletic. For a tall kid, he really moves side to side well, which means he can hit in the hole and bounce out of it, and then finishing with a score. That’s what makes him difficult to defend. He’s so big and fast.”
On the Thanksgiving holiday preceding the football game
“I think it will affect the week, but every school in the country deals with the same thing. It won’t set us back at all, we do have a plan that includes a Thanksgiving meal here for our team and families. We’ll be off Thursday night, and then we’ll have our regular preparation on Friday and Saturday. Every team in the country deals with this week, there are a lot of huge games this weekend, so we don’t see it as a problem.”
On the let down Saturday:
“We felt pretty confident coming into this week. That led to a lot of people being unprepared. It shouldn’t have been that way. We should have taken the same approach as we did against Marshall. We put Marshall on a pedestal and came out confident and ready to practice. We have a lot to prove this week.”
On motivation for the final game:
“We are going to try to go out with a win. We are more concerned with how we finish our season. I know we’re not going to go into the week thinking about UCF and what they can accomplish. We are just trying to accomplish all that we can.”
Sophomore TE Kennard Backman
On the Memphis game:
“Throughout the week, a lot of us were going through the motions. We had two big wins. We went through the motions this week and it showed on Saturday. We don’t want to get embarrassed again. We are going to try to send our seniors out right this week.”
On the upcoming offseason:
“We want to get a win to build on going into the offseason. We want to show the people that have invested so much in us that we appreciate them by going out there Saturday, playing as hard as we can, and getting a win.”
Sophomore RB Darrin Reaves
On the upcoming game against UCF:
“With it being the next game, it’s an important game. UCF has had some success this season; they have done well in conference play. When you play an opponent that has had that success and playing like we did Saturday, you are definitely going to be more tuned in at practice.”
On what went wrong with the running game on Saturday:
“I didn’t play like myself. I missed some holes and a couple of cuts. They put a lot of guys in the box. Memphis had a great scheme to stop the run. But I should take responsibility for that. We couldn’t find a rhythm in any phase of the game.”
On if the running game can get back on track:
“Most definitely. As a football player, you have to know that if you have a bad game, you look back at it for a short time, and get ready for your next opponent.”