Friday, June 30, 2017
Bilo's 2017 College Football Previews: UAB Blazers
The Blazers are back from a two year football hiatus, and talented head coach Bill Clark is back as well. With a completely new roster, Clark is going to have his hands full this season, but the Blazer program already hit a win when Clark decided never to leave when he could have, and he is a winner. That being said, UAB is going to have some pains, as this has to be considered as a brand new program.
What To Be Excited About: Offense
It is going to be difficult to grade out the talent on this football team, because so much of the roster is based on transfers, many of which are JC transfers, or were backups from other programs. AJ Ederly, a former Alabama QB of the Year in high school, has transferred from Middle Tennessee by way of Mississippi Gulf Coast College. He is the leader at the QB job coming out of spring ball, but will have to lock it down in fall camp.
Clark also invested in the line by way of transfers. James Davis (LT), Chris Schleuger (LG), Lee Dufour (C), Malique Johnson (RG), and Justice Powers (RT) will all start, and looked solid in the spring game.
What To Be Concerned About: Offense
The skill positions are as thin as paper, and Clark has been trying to figure it all out. James Noble is the leader at RB as of now, but nobody has really taken a grip of the position, and his hold is tenuous as of this moment. Collin Lisa, Xavier Ubosi, and Andre Wilson are slated to start at WR, and Logan Scott has the job for now at TE, but that could all change when the season opens.
Nick Vogel is back at handle PK duties, and is a returnee from when the program was dropped, but has not kicked in a game in some time.
What To Be Excited About: Defense
The line has looked good, and Teko Powell could be a star at DT, if he can stay on the field. He spent three years at Illinois, but has had injury concerns. If he stays healthy, he could be the star of the defense. Stacy Keely will start at DE, while Garrett Marino is in at NT.
Shaq Jones returns to UAB, and finished with 12.5 TFLs during his last season, and Tevin Crews returns to the program as well, and was a previous starter. They are joined by Fitzgerald Mofar and Chris Woolbright.
What To Be Concerned About: Defense
The secondary is the most unsettled spot on defense. Derez Diggs, a JC transfer, will start at CB after moving from Iowa Western. Will Dawkins looked good at S, but the other two spots are unsettled as we head into fall camp.
Joel Dixon is an Australian Punter who is transferring in from San Joaquin Delta College, and has not punted in a major college game.
2017 Schedule: 9/2 Alabama A&M, 9/9 at Ball State, 9/16 Coastal Carolina, 9/23 at North Texas, 10/7 Louisiana Tech, 10/14 Middle Tennessee, 10/21 at Charlotte, 10/28 at Southern Miss, 11/4 Rice, 11/11 at UTSA, 11/18 at Florida, 11/25 UTEP
It's nice to see the Blazers back on the field, and to see Clark back coaching live football, but do not be fooled, this is a major rebuilding job to get this program back on track. There is likely only one game in which the Blazers will be favored in, and that would be the opener against the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M of the FCS SWAC. Otherwise, this will be a developmental season, and Clark has got to find a way to concentrate on four year recruits, and transition away from the JC transfer route. In any case, the ride starts again for the Blazers, and we should all just enjoy the process.