The UAB football team continued fall camp on Thursday night with a two-hour practice at the on-campus facility. The Blazers' third practice of this year's camp lasted approximately two hours, in what was another high-energy, spirited session.
The team had to deal with soggy conditions on Thursday night after a early afternoon rainstorm passed through the Birmingham area. Despite the wet field, the team continued to maintain a level of intensity, which is something that junior wide received Jackie Williams attributes to the off-season workouts.
"We worked extremely hard in the summer in our off-season program and we seem to be merging into one another," Williams said. "Camp's finally here and every play we work on with the coaches, we have to perform to the best of our ability and really buy into what they say."
Senior offensive tackle Chris Hubbard agrees, as the preseason all-conference lineman also has seen the practice speed pick up early in the fall camp.
"We're all moving to the ball fast, getting up to the line," Hubbard said. "We're all prepared to go for the next play every time. Every down, every snap, we come to the ball fast and everything's fast paced."
Several positions on the field are already showing a great deal of depth early in the camp, including the running backs where position coach Tyson Helton feels strong about having a solid corps of veterans to work with.
"We have four really good running backs," Helton said. "They are guys who know football and learned the system well. They understand what it takes and that's important. It's nice to know that at any time if one goes down, we can put another one in without missing a beat. They are all team players and we are looking forward to all four of those guys playing."
The group is headed by leading returning rushers Greg Franklin (430 yards) and Darrin Reaves (372 yards). Also among the mix is senior Dontavious Jackson and redshirt freshman Bashr Coles. The quartet combined to rush for just over 900 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.
"We are a pro-style offense and to have a variety of backs is a great option," Helton said. "It's nice to have some bigger backs to carry the load or do some blocking and we can ask some of the better skill guys to get out there in space. It really gives you a full package to work with."
The Blazers will return to the gridiron on Friday for another evening practice. Saturday will be the team's first full-pad session.
The Blazers have their eyes set on the first game on the 2012 schedule, slated for Sept. 1 against in-state rival Troy. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT at Legion Field.