Monday, August 16, 2010
Conference USA 2010-UAB Blazers
2009 Record: 5-7 (4-4)
Head Coach: Neil Calloway (4th season, 11-25)
Offensive Coordinator: Kim Helton (4th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Eric Schumann (4th season)
2009 Bowl Game: None, and it's been 6 years since the last
Offense: QB Joe Webb, who was everything on offense to the Blazers in 2009, is gone. That is a massive void. Nobody seems to be in a panic because the staff is really high on David Isabelle, who brings the same kinds of intangibles as Webb had, and he played a good deal in 2009. JC transfer Pat Shed looks to be the new RB, but Daniel Borne and Justin Brooks will get plenty of carries as well. 4 of the top 5 receivers are back, with Frantrell Forrest and Roddell Carter starting. 3 starters return on the line. UAB ranked 22nd nationally in total offense last season, but with Webb at QB.
Defense: Here's the problem. UAB can't stop the pass...at all. They ranked dead last at 120th against the pass in 2009, and yet Schumann is back as DC. UAB only had 19 sacks in 2009, and the two starting ends, Bryant Turner and Derek Slaughter, had 9.5 of them. This is not good. Chase Daniel is back at FS, and a JC transfer, Jamie Bender, was brought in to try and shore up some semblance of a pass D.Hiram Atwater was supposed to be back at safety as well, but missed all of spring and his status is uncertain at best.
Special Teams: Josh Zahn is back at PK, but missed 1/3 of his kicks in 2009. Trey Ragland is back at punter, and he is fantastic.
Wins: 9/4 Florida Atlantic, 11/20 Memphis, 11/27 @ Rice
Toss Up Games: 9/18 Troy, 11/11 East Carolina
Losses: 9/11 @ SMU, 9/25 @ Tennessee, 10/6 @ Central Florida, 10/16 UTEP, 10/23 @ MIssissippi State, 10/30 Southern Mississippi, 11/6 Marshall
The Blazers should finish strong, but it's going to be tough getting out of the gate. UAB will struggle against some great passing teams on the schedule.
Outlook: Expect anywhere between 3 to 5 wins max. Until UAB shores up the pass D issues, there is no way that they can compete in this league. I see a long road on the horizon.