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August 11, 2012The UAB football team held its first scrimmage of preseason camp, Saturday night on campus.
First-year head coach Garrick McGee was excited to see his team in action, but also knows that there are areas the team needs to improve upon before the Blazers first game, set for Sept. 1 vs. Troy at Legion Field.
"It felt great to finally play some football, and we learned a lot about ourselves tonight," McGee said. "We learned that mentally, we have a long way to go. I do know that we have a lot of talent, and they have a good attitude, but they need to learn how to compete when things get tough. I like our team a lot."
A quartet of running backs were mainly utilized in Darrin Reaves, Dontavius Jackson, Bashr Coles and Greg Franklin in the scrimmage. Each of the four players rushed for over 50 yards a piece in the team's first live action of the fall.
Coles produced the most yards on the ground with 70 on 16 carries, while Reaves and Jackson each found the end zone twice. In total, the four backs rushed the ball 48 times for 238 yards and four touchdowns.
Five different quarterbacks saw action under center on the evening. The signal callers combined to go 24-of-58 for 350 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Jonathan Perry went 11-for-31 for a team-high 201 yards and connected for a 39-yard score to wide receiver Patrick Hearn. Perry also scampered for a two-yard touchdown. Austin Brown connected for a pair of touchdowns and 123 yards on 9-of-13 passing.
The receivers were led by Jackie Williams' five catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. Hearn hauled in four receptions for 75 yards and a score, while Jay Davis pitched in four catches totaling 70 yards. Jamarcus Nelson added a 28-yard touchdown catch.
McGee was extremely impressed with the defense effort the Blazers showcased, totaling three interceptions on the night and playing great coverage on the Green and Gold receivers.
"I'm really impressed with the talent level we have on defense," McGee said. "Reggie (Johnson) really has done a good job putting them together. They are playing a really aggressive, up tight coverage, which is what we want. We want every offense we face to work hard for every yard they get."
Lamarcus Farmer, Greg Irvin and Nyakki Height each recorded interceptions, with Farmer and Irvin returning each pick for a score.
In addition, kicker Ty Long split the uprights twice on three attempts, connecting from 37 and 48 yards out.
The next scheduled scrimmage for the Blazers is set for next Saturday, Aug. 18. UAB will return to the practice field on Monday, Aug 13.
Bashr Coles 16-70; Darrin Reaves 13-58, 2 TD; Greg Franklin 7-56; Dontavius Jackson 12-54, 2 TD.
Jonathan Perry 11-31, 201 Yds, 1 TD, 1 INT; Austin Brown 9-13, 123 Yds, 2 TD, I INT; Ben Craft 4-7, 26 Yds, 0 TD, 1 INT.
Jackie Williams 5-109, 1 TD; Patrick Hearn 4-75, 1 TD; Jay Davis 4-70; Jamarcus Nelson 1-28, 1 TD.