Here’s the bizarre story of UAB football. In 2014, football at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) was killed. Then it was revived. Then it was successful. Which begs the question, “Can the Blazers improve in 2018?” If so, how much farther can they go? Here are five reasons the Blazers are capable of being even better this season.
They basically skipped the rebuilding process
Thanks to coach Bill Clark’s decision to remain with the program and putting the team through a full year of practice before its revival in 2017, the program felt as if it was simply returning from a prolonged offseason rather than being brought back from the dead. Instead of having the mentality of a new program, Clark managed to instill a strong sense of pride in the Blazers, and they can continue to build on that in 2018.
Clark is a near-perfect recruiter
If there is one thing Clark does right, it’s recruit. He manages to snatch up some great talent that goes overlooked by schools like Alabama and Auburn. During their year hiatus, the Blazers recruiting class still ranked 71st nationwide, and what is most amazing is the commits knew they would not play a single game that year. Also, Clark has managed to pull recruits from all over the nation, making the program stronger each year.
Expectations are high
Another reason UAB should excel this year is because it is expected to do so. The team is expected to compete for a Conference USA Championship, possibly even win it, and anything less would be a disappointment for many. It is almost unbelievable to say that the young program is already being held to such high standards, but they are well-earned. And that is a testament to the team’s performance in 2017 and the offseason.
Loaded with veterans
The roster is packed to the brim with returning talent. UAB has 37 seniors, the most of any classification. The 2017 starting quarterback A.J. Erdely returns, as well as many other impactful players such as running back Spencer Brown and defensive tackle Garrett Marino. It stands to reason all that maturity will translate into success on the field.
UAB’s schedule is a healthy mix of easy wins and difficult challenges. Games against teams such as Savannah State and Charlotte give Clark and his team the chance to breathe, while wins over their more difficult foes such as Louisiana Tech, Texas A&M, and Middle Tennessee State can result in high rewards.
Is a conference title realistic for the Blazers in their second year of their rebirth? It definitely seems so. H&A
All photos courtesy UAB Athletic Communications.
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