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October 24, 2012

Blazers look to seniors as they look for wins

The UAB Blazers are facing a rough road in digging out of the 1-6 in which they find themselves after losing to East Carolina last week.

But if there is a break in scheduling for the Blazers it is coming up over the next two games. The Blazers catch Tulane this Saturday and the Green Wave are also struggling through a 1-6 season and if UAB can knock off Tulane then the Blazers next catch winless Southern Miss.

"(Tulane's defense) has gotten better and better each week," UAB offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm said this week. "They won a couple of weeks ago, they played tough this past week and they try to get the big play with their defense and make you work (the ball) down the field."

A couple of wins would do wonders for this football team but it will have to start Saturday in the New Orleans Superdome.

"They are very talented. They have a lot of really good athletes," said UAB coach Garrick McGee. "They play a lot of man-coverage defensively, which means that they have athletes in their secondary. They are an attacking defensive front, and they get a lot of penetration in the backfield. Those are things that we really have to concentrate on.

"Offensively, they are balanced. Most teams in the country have studied Sean Payton (NFL head coach) and the New Orleans Saints' play-action passing game, and Tulane uses similar plays in their offense. Those plays are very tough to defend.

"We will have our hands full, and it will just come down to somebody making plays to win the game while the other team does not. Most of the time, the team that makes those plays wins the game," McGee said.

The players need someone to step up and make plays and typically that should come from senior leadership, but all the losing has a way of eating away at a players' confidence.

"It is always good to have seniors, and we have some really good seniors on our team," said McGee. "Chris Hubbard, Marvin Burdette, Nick Adams, and Patrick Hearn are all experienced, and they play well. Nick Adams bailed us out on two third-down-and-long situations where he went out and made an individual play that helped us continue a drive.

"Chris is always responsible for blocking the best defensive pass rusher on the other team. It is always good to have guys like that who know how to prepare for games and perform when the lights come on."

McGee says that despite the importance of senior leadership, it is nothing that they talk about during the week.

"The only time that we really talk about that is when the media is around," the UAB coach said. "(senior leaders) Marvin Burdette and Chris Hubbard have a lot of pride in our program, our university and in themselves as people. They show up and perform at a high level in every game."

Burdette has been slowly climbing the Blazers career tackling list and currently holds down the No. 2 spot with 329 tackles trailing only Zac Woodfin's 372.

"[Burdette] is a senior veteran, which means that he understands how to take care of his body. He also understands how to put the right things in his body to give himself a chance to perform at a high level," said McGee.

"He has a slight ankle injury that he has to have maintenance on non-stop. Marvin is either in class, getting treatment, or in there watching film. He is an example to our younger players, and he shows them how a player should prepare his body and mind for the game.

"Marvin has been a pleasure for me to be around as a senior. He is a guy who is going to leave a legacy around here," McGee said.

The Blazers had a couple of injuries in the East Carolina game.

"We do have a couple of guys that have serious injuries. Diaheem (Watkins) has a serious injury, and he will be out indefinitely. Calvin Jones will be out for a couple of weeks. They both have rib injuries," he said.

Lamarcus Farmer injured his ankle in the game Saturday night but the Blazers are hoping to see him play against Tulane.


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