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August 31, 2012When the UAB Blazers open the season Saturday morning at Legion Field it will be a meeting of two teams that are trying to put 2011 behind them and get 2012 off to a good start.
"We as players try to treat it as any other game," Troy quarterback Corey Robinson said. "We're trying to treat each game one step at a time and get as many wins as possible. We always like to get after UAB just like they want to get after us.
"We want to get off to a better start than we did last year. That's what we've been working for, for the past six or seven months. We're tired of seeing the same defense, just like they are tired of seeing us every day. I think we are ready to get up there and play somebody else."
The Blazers feel the same way - they are ready to see some unfamiliar faces across the line of scrimmage and the coaches see the difference in the players.
"There's an unbelievable difference of where the guys were when they got here," said UAB defensive coordinator Reggie Johnson. "That's both physically in that their bodies have changed, and mentally, working through the summer with Coach Chandler, and then when we got them, we were able to push themselves and we could work them harder."
Troy has annually been one of the top scoring teams in the nation, having finished in the top 26 in the nation in scoring four of the past five years. Troy will test UAB's secondary with Robinson's strong right arm. The junior threw for 3,411 yards and 21 touchdowns last season but he was picked off 15 times, which has caught the attention of the Blazers.
Brandon Sharp, the Blazers' safeties coach, knows the challenge that face UAB's secondary.
"They pass the ball a lot," Sharp said. "As a secondary, we have to be on our game. We have to know their formations and what we need to check to get us in the right position."
The Trojan defense was porous ranking in triple figures in every defensive category although they will enter this season with three players who are on the Sun Belt Team in defensive end Tony Davis , linebacker Kanorris Davis and safety Brynden Trawick.
"It's hard to compare them," said Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. "We've had some pretty good players here over the years. When we were good enough to get off the field on defense, there was always three of four guys over there to make plays for you. We're young in some areas, but I think we're good enough and deep enough in the front seven. We are certainly more gifted in the secondary across the board. It's a matter of executing, getting the call and getting after it on defense."
The Blazers are looking forward to open the Garrick McGee era and a new attitude.