November 6, 2012
Win over Southern Miss Leaves Blazers with New Confidence
UAB not only won a football game last Saturday over Southern Miss, but they also matured as a team. Maybe they're ready to start winning some more. At least, head coach Garrick McGee thinks so.
"I think we grew up during the game," McGee said Monday during his weekly news conference. "On defense, I thought that they understood our game plan, our coaches coached with a lot more enthusiasm, a lot more intensity, and I think it really reflected in how our players performed. Offensively, once we made the proper adjustments during the game, we got going on attacking."
McGee even had praise for the fans who made the trip to Hattiesburg. "I'm also really pleased with our fans. We had a really great section of fans that were really loud and intense throughout the game. I think it was a step forward for our program."
McGee saw two positive points for his offensive unit - the running game and the play of quarterback Austin Brown. Brown struggled in the first half, but bounced back with a strong second half.
"I really think he grew up a lot on Saturday," McGee said of Brown. "He was struggling early in the game, he was holding the ball, got hit hard a few times, and he was just really struggling.
"They were giving him some different looks," McGee added, "and I couldn't really help him much because I was trying to figure out the looks as well. I said to him that this was an opportunity for all of us to grow up here and figure out how to go from not having a very good game to getting yourself back under control and figuring out a way to come through in the end."
Brown took the advice to heart. "I think he did a really good job of managing our team in the second half, completing the passes that were there for him," McGee said. "His technique was better once he settled down."
"It's always good when you grow up and you win at the end," he added, "because that shows you if you keep trusting in who you are and what we are, then good things will happen."
McGee was also happy with the running game, particularly the performance of running back Darrin Reaves who ran for more than 200 yards. "The philosophy of our offense is to run the ball," McGee said. "Earlier in the season, we were disappointed because we couldn't run the ball as much as we anticipated, and we resorted to having to pass the ball over and over for 300 yards a game to stay in games. The way you win games is by playing good defense and by running the ball."
Freshman offensive lineman Cameron Blankenship said the team had a new sense of confidence after the defense stepped up to open the second half. "We came out slow in the first half," he said. "In the second half, the defense came out and stopped (Southern Miss' offense). We knew we were going to win as soon as we scored on the next drive."
Freshman defensive end Chris Rabb agreed, noting that the team had a different attitude in the second half against the Golden Eagles. "We were down by 16 but we played like the score was 0-0," Rabb said. "We grew up as a team and came together. We're going to try to keep the momentum going into the next game and the next season."
Will the new-found confidence carry over to this Saturday, when UAB hosts Marshall at Legion Field? Blankenship thinks so. "You could tell on Sunday that everybody on the team was really confident about playing Marshall this week," Blankenship said. "[The win] brought confidence to the offensive line along with the team."
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial