UAB head coach Garrick McGee and senior offensive tackle Chris Hubbard spent much of Wednesday talking about the enthusiasm and attitude surrounding the Blazer football program heading into the upcoming 2012 season.
McGee and Hubbard joined coaches and players from the other 11 Conference USA schools Wednesday at the league's annual media day event outside Dallas.
They spent the morning doing interviews with C-USA television partners FOX, CBS Sports Network and CSS and then met in the afternoon with print media, radio and local television affiliates.
UAB gets fall camp started Tuesday, July 31 with its first practice and will begin building toward its season opener against Troy, scheduled for Sept. 1 at Legion Field.
Here is sampling of some comments from McGee and Hubbard at Wednesday's Conference USA Football Kickoff …
Head Coach Garrick McGee
On his expectations for the UAB program
"We expect to do things right. We expect to develop some pride. We expect to develop a standard of excellence, a way we go about our business, and to put a product on the field that our alumni and our fans can be proud of."
On the support he's seen so far in Birmingham
"There's no doubt we have a lot of support in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. Our alumni association gave us an opportunity to go around from city to city, town to town and community to community and speak with everyone about our plans for the program. What we found out is that we have a lot of support right there in Birmingham, and I'm really happy to be the head coach there."
On the Blazers' offensive personnel
"We want to score a lot of points. I think we have the personnel. We're really fortunate with the kids that we have. I think we have offensive linemen. We were able to move one defensive lineman, Cody Payne, to offensive guard to play next to Chris (Hubbard). They're both big and athletic, veteran players. We have plenty of receivers. We have multiple running backs and good tight ends. We have a quarterback who played a lot of ball last year, so I'm really fortunate that we have the personnel that we have."
On the challenge of playing at Ohio State and South Carolina
"One of our goals is to respect the game of football. What that means is the way we prepare, the way we meet, the way we protect the ball on offense and take the ball away on defense. You prepare yourself to do things right on game day, and that's how you prepare for any game, regardless of who you're playing. I think playing Ohio State and South Carolina back-to-back is a challenge for any team in the country, not just UAB."
On trying to improve the defensive performance from last year
"We have a different attitude, we have a different philosophy, a different way of thinking and going about our business. None of the stats that we had last year matter to us today. I think we're going to have depth on the defensive line. We have three really good freshmen defensive linemen, and we have a really good defensive line coach (Jimmy Williams).
"Reggie Johnson is coaching our linebackers. Reggie came with me from Arkansas as our defensive coordinator. Reggie is one of the top linebacker coaches in the country. We have Marvin Burdette, who is one of our leading tacklers, one of our captains. And we have depth. I think we have four true freshmen that I really have a lot of faith in.
"And then we have our two secondary coaches, Anthony Blevins and Brandon Sharp, two young guys who played so they're able to see through the helmet of their players. I think we're going to be productive (defensively) because we're going to play with better effort and intensity.
On the importance of playing well on defense
"You have to be good on defense to win football games because at some point you're going to run into a defense that stops your offense. If you're not able to play any defense you don't have a chance in that game."
Sr. OL Chris Hubbard
On the UAB offensive line
"I think we're going to be pretty good, aggressive as always, coming out every game and playing hard on every down."
On his role on this year's team
"Being a leader, leading everybody to come out and play every game and just showing them the right way to do it, trying to help our team to a conference championship."
On this year's schedule
"I'm excited. I'm ready for every game, just taking every game and every play one at a time. It really is an opportunity to showcase what we have because people outside our program aren't really expecting that much from us."
On the parity in the conference and the excitement at UAB
"It really is. You never know what to expect week in and week out. A lot of excitement is going on around campus. We're ready to put in the work and we're ready to go."
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