Preview 2017: UAB Is Brought Back To Life
After two years off, UAB football is back from the dead, Can it do much of anything right away?
At the very least, UAB will get a little attention again.
How do you get people to care about your football program? Go away and see who’s interested in seeing it return.
Troy has one of the Sun Belt’s best teams, Auburn should be in for a big season, and Alabama is Alabama, but UAB will still find a way to shoehorn its way into the state’s consciousness – at least a little bit – after going away for two years and now trying to reboot the football team.
Will the team be good enough to keep the buzz going?
About 7,800 fans showed up to watch the return of Blazer football for the spring game, but that’s only about 3,000 fewer than came out to watch the team each game in 2013 – and that’s going to be the issue.
Blazer fans wanted their football program back, and raised the money and interest to make it happen, but are you going to be okay with a team that gets destroyed for long stretches this season?
UAB backers, are you going to be jacked up to go out for the fun of seeing your team’s uniforms run out on the field? It has already been a great story just getting the team back after a two-year hiatus, but now that it’s here, it has to produce to keep that fire going.
Head coach Bill Clark has fought the good fight to keep everything alive, putting together a few parts of the puzzle last year to be ready to go for this year, but it’s going to take the new recruits, the JUCO transfers, and all the other hands on deck just to try fielding a team, much less be a factor in the Conference USA race.
But the Blazers will bring the effort and the excitement, and the fan base will be cranked up for any success and anything even remotely positive. Fortunately, there are just enough teams on the schedule trying to piece things together to give UAB some hope upon reentry.
The quarterback situation is a plus, with A.J. Erdely ready to go, but with options to provide a push. Kalin Heath is a good-looking running back in a stunningly deep group, and the receiving corps at least has an okay No. 1 target in UAB-to-Buffalo-to-UAB transfer Collin Lisa to start with.
The offensive line will be the biggest problem. Of all the things that have to be pieced together, this is the biggest area of need.
However, overall, the offense should be okay to start – at least at times. The defense, though, will be another story.
There are good linebackers for the 3-4 alignment, but the line is going to need time, and the secondary should be okay as long as there aren’t a slew of injuries or problems early on.
But this is all a process. As long as the team finds several good players for 2018, it’ll be an okay season.
No matter what happens, though, it’ll be a party for those getting their team back.