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September 30, 2012

Blazers get offensive production, but can't overcome defense against Tulsa

Saturday's loss to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane was emblematic of UAB's history.

There were highlights - namely Austin Brown's 75- and 50-yard touchdown passes to Jamarcus Nelson - but the redshirt freshman quarterback also had two turnovers in the fourth quarter that opened the door for Tulsa's win. Darrn Reaves had a career night with 61 yard rushing and three touchdowns.

And once again, just as it has so many times in the past, the Blazers defense could not come up with a crucial stop to win the game. It was that way under Watson Brown and under Neil Callaway and it has continued under Garrick McGee.

What is the answer? Clearly the Blazers have the offense to compete with every team in Conference USA. Brown has been a pleasant addition to the starting lineup as his three touchdowns and 337 yards passing will attest. But scoring points has never been too much of a problem for the Blazers, even in the early days of the Watson Brown era and throughout the Neil Callaway era.

It would be easy to point a finger at defensive coordinator Reggie Johnson but that would be a mistake. Johnson, who coached inside linebackers at Arkansas for the past four seasons and Arkansas certainly knew a little something about playing hard-nosed defense in the Southeastern Conference. Give Johnson a little time to recruit his type of players before making a judgment on him.

In the meantime, the Blazers continue to play hard for McGee and his staff. But UAB fans, while appreciating the effort, want to see it pay off with some wins on the field. The next chance will be This Saturday when Southeastern Louisiana comes to Legion Field at 2 p.m.



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