It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally time for the Blazers to take the field again. Like I’ve said before, I have high expectations for this team, at least compared to most people who don’t bleed green and gold. But no matter the outcome of this season, I’ll take joy in the fact that there is a future for football at UAB. There are some really good things about this UAB football team, but it’s really hard to know how it will play out on the field. Coach Clark and his staff did a great job of bringing in junior college players with experience that should have the Blazers competing right away. The defense should be very stout for UAB this year, which will keep them in every game they play. The big question for me will be how quickly the offensive line can come together. There are plenty of playmakers on offense, but if the line can’t block, there will be no chance for them to make plays. The first four games are crucial for UAB. They are all very winnable games and they could very well go 4-0 in that stretch. But I think it’s imperative that they win at least three of them, with Ball State probably being the toughest of the four. That will put UAB in a good spot to reach that desired sixth win and put us right back where we were in 2014. I have them falling just short of six wins as I don’t think a lot of UAB fans are taking into account just how difficult it will be for this team to gel together early having never played a real game together.
It has been 1,000 days since we have actually seen the Blazers on a football field. This Saturday that will all change. We will finally be able to see our team play like every other team has for the past two years. I know all of the models are showing us at two or three wins, but that is based on computer programs. How can you measure a team that hasn’t played in two years? You just have to go with your gut. The defensive line has a chance to make a huge difference in every game this year. They are all large human beings looking for their chance to prove themselves. They have also been able to spend two years training and developing their bodies. Coach Clark recently has been very high on the secondary also. My eyes go to the quarterbacks and running backs. It looks like AJ Erdely has won the job at quarterback. However, there are a large group of running backs, all of which have a chance to make an impact on the team. UAB has also had early problems with depth at tight end after two of their players went down with injuries in camp. I think UAB wins against A&M, Coastal, North Texas, Charlotte, Rice, and UTEP. I do not see any losses being complete blowouts with the exception of Florida. BUT you never know how this team will perform until they come out and play someone not in green and gold on Saturday.
Well, #theReturn is finally over. A long journey is finally ending as UAB will open the 2017 season this Saturday at Legion Field. No one really knows what to expect from the Blazers, but fans are ready for the season to start. I think the Blazers start the year 3-1 with a loss to Ball State, but then lose the next two games falling to 3-3. But then they bounce back to win three in a row before losing to UTSA and Florida. However, they finish the regular season on a high note with a win at home.
Read Russell’s full season game-by-game preview here.