October 22, 2013
UAB Preparing for UTSA
It's back to the practice field for the UAB Blazers football team. Still fresh from a win over Florida International, the Blazers now look forward to a trip to San Antonio to take on UTSA in another Conference USA battle. The big question? Will the win over FIU be the start of something good. Coach Garrick McGee thinks it will.
"Whenever you can win a game that's a hard-fought, tough game, there definitely is growth," he said Monday. "I have seen a little different mentality from our team. They now think that this will work if we play motivated football for four-straight quarters maintaining the same attitude and intensity. We tell our guys to play like you have a blindfold on, not worrying about the scoreboard."
The task, he added, is to keep making small improvements. "You get back to work," McGee said. "You try to point out the things you did good. I am really into pointing out the small victories to our players, giving them examples of having success when you do things the right way."
He expects Blazer fans to see improvements in both the offense and defense this Saturday. "I expect our team to improve every day," he said. "I expect every aspect of our program to get 'One Day Better' every single day. That definitely includes our defense. But our offense needs to improve along with our special teams. I expect everybody around here to get better every day."
But he also expects a tough game against UTSA. "They are a very good football team," McGee noted. "They have an athletic, dual-threat quarterback, which is always trouble. They do a really good job with shifts and motions. We all know that (head coach) Larry Coker is a great offensive football coach. They run a lot of jet sweeps and have a wildcat quarterback."
He also has respect for the UTSA defense. "Rice is one of the top rushing teams in our conference, and UTSA shut them down," McGee added. "They play in a dome and bring a good crowd. We will have our hands full."
Blazer fans should also expect Jake Ganus to start at safety instead of linebacker for the Blazers. "He played the whole game and started at strong safety for us (against FIU)," McGee said. "He played very well in the game. He's a competitor and a football player. We let him do what he does best, which is drop down into the box and stop the run, cover the tight end, and use his instincts to make things. He did a very good job of it. We are going to continue with that."
McGee added that the way Ganus plays at safety is similar to the way he played linebacker. "What he was playing early in the season was a hybrid linebacker-safety type position," McGee said. "He is going to do that same thing, just from a different position on the field."
Also look for running back Greg Franklin to make his second appearance as a defensive back this week. "He practices half with the running backs and half with the safeties," McGee said. "We're spending a little extra time with him at safety because it's new to him. He's naturally a running back and has been with us a long time."
Franklin will continue to be a scoring threat for the Blazers. "He is going to return kicks and punts, so he will get his hands on the ball," McGee added. "I am really happy with him. He''s really happy to do whatever he can to help the team win."
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