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2013 Pre-Season Preview: UAB Blazers

2012 Record: 3-9 (2-6 in C-USA)

Head Coach: Garrick McGee (second year at UAB)

Last Bowl Game: 2004 Hawaii Bowl: lost to Hawaii 59-40

Stadium: Legion Field in Birmingham, AL (capacity = 71,594)

Home Field Advantage: ranked 52nd out of 55 mid-major teams

Schedule Glimpse:

2013 Schedule Link

Most Likely Winnable Conference Games: 10/5 vs FAU, 10/12 at FIU, 10/26 at UTSA

Out of Conference Games: 8/31 at Troy, 9/7 at LSU, 9/21 vs NW St, 9/28 at Vanderbilt

Toughest Conference Games: 11/9 at Marshall, 11/16 at ECU

 

Statistical Snapshot:

2012 Statistics Link

Stats to Fear: allowed 42 sacks (last in C-USA), allowed opponents to convert on 89.66% of red zone trips (last in C-USA

Stat to Cheer: averaged 8.1 more ppg in 2012 than 2011

Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 113th out of 124 teams

 

Personnel:

Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 5, Defense: 7, Special Teams: 2

Key Defensive Returnees: DB Calvin Jones (71 tackles), DB Jake Ganus (63 tackles)

Key Offensive Returnees: QB Austin Brown (2673 yds pass, 15 TD, 12 INT), RB Darrin Reaves (1037 yds rush, 4.82 ypc, 13 TD, 41 rec), WR Jackie Williams (52 rec)

 

Verdict:

Garrick McGee enters his second year at UAB with a lot of work left to do. The last time the Blazers had a winning record was in 2004 under Watson Brown. The good news for McGee is that he had a young team last year so a lot of the key contributors return.

UAB return both QBs that saw action last year, sophomore Austin Brown and senior Jonathan Perry but after the spring game McGee was non-committal in naming a starter for 2013. 1,000 yard rusher Darrin Reaves returns as does rising sophomore Bashr Coles. The Blazers lose two 40-reception players but return leading receiver Jackie Williams as well as two other receivers who caught 20 passes. The OL loses their best player but return six linemen who have a combined 48 starts. 

The Blazers return everybody along the DL so they should see that group continue to improve. The middle of the defense loses it's top two tacklers. The secondary returns it's top three players and four of it's top five. Overall, if the Blazers can figure out who replaces their loss at LB they should have an improved defensive football team. 

The schedule is not a killer as they avoid Tulsa and Louisiana Tech out of the West and maybe more importantly the conference schedule starts with three very winnable games (FAU, at FIU, at UTSA) that could provide UAB with some important confidence heading into a tough stretch towards the end of the season. This will be an improved team but I don't see them getting to a bowl just yet under McGee.

Prediction: 4-8

 

Previous 2013 Pre-Season Previews:

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Kevin Causey

About Kevin Causey

dry humorist, beer snob, occasionally unbiased SEC fan, UGA alumni, contributor for The Student Section and founder of College Football Zealots

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