2009 UAB Blazers Football Preview
2008 Record: (4-8, 3-5)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Neil Callaway (6-18 at UAB, 6-18 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kim Helton
Defensive Coordinator: Eric Schumann
Rushing: Joe Webb, QB, 1,021 yards
Passing: Joe Webb, QB, 2,367 yards
Receiving: Frantrell Forrest, WR, 536 yards
Tackles: Chase Daniel, S, 47; Keon Harris, LB, 47
Sacks: Bryant Turner, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: Brandon Carlisle, CB, 2; Chase Daniel, S, 2
Other Key Returnees: TE Jeffery Anderson, DE Anthony Barnes, G Greg Bulls, OT Greg Calhoun, DT Tim Davis, OT Terence Edge, WR Mark Ferrell, DT D.J. Reese, C Jake Seitz, RB Rashaud Slaughter, CB Terrell Springs, LB Lamanski Ware, WR Mario Wright
Key Losses: S Will Dunbar, LB Joe Henderson, CB Kevin Sanders, S Matt Taylor, K/P Swayze Waters
After some very troubling times in Birmingham, it finally appears that UAB is making progress. Coach Neil Callaway still only has six wins to his credit while at the helm of the Blazers, but the 2008 campaign was a success. The four victories last season were certainly not very impressive, but the best of them all did come at the end when UAB shutout UCF 15-0 on the road. It is time to build off of that momentum.
And it all starts with senior quarterback Joe Webb. Not only did he throw for 2,367 yards and ten touchdowns, but Webb also rushed for over 1,000 yards and actually rushed for more touchdowns than he passed. Now that does say something about the overall rushing offense of UAB, but it also says that Webb is a dynamic playmaker who can make things happen. Wide receiver Frantrell Forrest came out of nowhere to lead the team with 536 receiving yards as a freshman and Mario Wright is an experienced wideout. Add tight end Jeffery Anderson to the mix and Webb has himself plenty of targets. The offense returns nearly everybody. The entire two-deep from last year is back and that experience should turn the Blazers offense into one of the best in the conference. The key to it all might be the development of running back Rashaud Slaughter and the offensive line that needs to give him more room to operate.
The defense returns a ton of players too, but three of them that are not returning were last year’s top three tacklers. Will Dunbar, Joe Henderson and Matt Taylor were easily the three most productive players on the defensive side of the ball. And this was a unit that was outplayed most of the time even with those three on the field. The rest of the unit was relatively young but all those sophomores littered around the defense need to develop into consistent upperclassmen and a few of them need to take over this team. It is in the secondary where there are the biggest concerns since Dunbar, Taylor and Kevin Sanders are gone and the pass defense was still 108 th in the nation. If the front four can get pressure in the backfield the job in the secondary will be easier, but if UAB ranked 108 th with those experienced players, it is hard to imagine them doing much better with Terrell Springs, Brandon Carlisle and Chase Daniel.
The Bottom Line for the Blazers:
The overall team statistics were pretty bad in 2008. Yet, this team pulled off four wins and most of those were in the second half of the season. They kept getting better as the year went on and that should continue into 2009. The schedule does not make it easy, but if this UAB team really is improving, they should win six games and be bowl eligible.
By Joel Welser
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