UAB BLAZERS SEASON PREVIEW
Though the University at Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) Blazers finished with a 4-8 mark in Conference-USA (C-USA) play during 2011, they had a few signature moments that they look to build on in the 2012 season. With surprising wins over the University of Central Florida and a thrilling upset over eventual C-USA champion Southern Miss, the Blazers proved that they are no fluke and are a legitimate contender for the C-USA crown. Heading into the 2012 season, the Blazers have a bunch of new faces on offense, and they'll have to gel quickly to keep up with the rest of the high-powered offenses in their conference.
Offensively, the Blazers will need to get back to what they do best, using multiple quarterbacks to run both a spread and option offense. Joe Bento and Jonathan Perry are expected to vie for playtime, but don't be surprised if some of the youngsters receive more of it. At running back, UAB prefers a full stable of running backs to utilize all of their unique traits, so Dontavius Jackson and D'Andre Mostella should see the bulk of the carries. On the receiving end, the Blazers prefer smaller, faster tight ends like Sam Accursio and Nolen Smith, who team with a squad of quick receivers who should make the Blazers' offense very unpredictable.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Blazers will rely on a young rotation of defensive lineman to put pressure on the pocket, but should be bolstered by a veteran linebacking corps. Linebackers Greg Irvin and D.A. Autry have been the heart and soul of the UAB defense and have helped the team stay in games late against highly-ranked opponents. In the secondary, the Blazers will rely on a group of veteran corners like Cornelius Richards and Caleb Lester at cornerback while Lamar Johnson and Landon Nolen man the safety spots. Ultimately, it will come down to the pressure that the young defensive line generates to put the other skilled players in a position to make plays.
Heading into 2012, the UAB Blazers have one of the toughest opening stretches in all of college football. With showdowns against Troy, South Carolina and Ohio State over the season's first four weeks, UAB fans will know very early whether or not their team can contend for a C-USA title. In their highly competitive conference, it seems that anyone can break through and make some noise around bowl season and UAB may be the team to take the next step.
UAB BLAZERS INFORMATION:
First Season: 1991
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Stadium: Legion Field
Conference: Conference USA
Rivals: Memphis Tigers, Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Notable Alumni: Bryan Thomas
Notable Bowl Games:
The UAB Blazers first fielded a football team in 1991 under head coach Jim Hilyer. In the team's first 3 years Hilyer led them to an incredible 27-12-2 record. In 2000 under head coach Watson Brow, the Blazers managed to upset LSU in Baton Rouge in what is probably the greatest game in the school's short football history. Neil Callaway took over the coaching position in 2007 and had his hands full immediately, posting the worst season so far for the Blazers. UAB has one major rival in the Memphis Tigers, whom they play each year in the “Battle for the Bones”. In spite of its youth, UAB has also managed to send a strong contingent of Blazers into the NFL.
The UAB Blazers play their home games at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The historic stadium seats a capacity of more than 71,500 (down from its capacity of more than 83,000 before the removal of the upper deck in 2005). Opened in 1926, Legion Field provides a venue in which a sense of football history and tradition is hard for visitors to miss, giving the young UAB program the perfect backdrop in which to make history. Buy UAB Blazers tickets today and don't miss the action!
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UAB Blazers Ticket Information:
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