Scouting Report: A quick look at UAB

Birmingham News UAB beat writer Steve Irvine breaks down the Blazers. Running back Corey White (pictured) led the Blazers in rushing last season with 632 yards and seven touchdowns. This season, White will be running behind a line that is represented by four seniors, three of which are returning starters from UAB's 5-6 team in 2005. (AP Photo)

This is the first of four previews on OU's non-conference opponents from people who cover those teams.

First up is UAB, the Sooners' opening night opponent on Sept. 2.

Steve Irvine, UAB beat writer for the Birmingham News, gives us a look at Watson Brown's Blazers:

Strengths: The running game should fuel the offense. UAB has two all-conference type running backs in Dan Burks and Corey White and capable backups Marculus Elliott and Trey Chaney. All four are seniors. UAB also has a veteran offensive line. Head coach Watson Brown thinks tackles Julius Wilson and Cornelius Rogers have a chance to play in the NFL. Larry McSwain leads a deep group at defensive end. Orlandus King is one of the best linebackers in C-USA. UAB has at least five linebackers with significant experience and everyone who is expected to contribute in the secondary started at least one game last season.

Weaknesses: Quarterback is a big question mark after the graduation of Darrell Hackney. Senior Chris Williams, junior Sam Hunt and redshirt freshman Joseph Webb are fighting to replace Hackney. Brown expects Williams to take the first snap but Hunt could eventually win the job. Williams is the most limited athletically but he has the most experience. Hunt, a transfer from Middle Tennessee, is one of the team's fastest players. Webb is the quarterback of the future. The defensive tackles are not very big or experienced.

Major concerns: Remaining healthy through a difficult September. UAB opens with Oklahoma, East Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi State and Troy. If the Blazers get banged up during that stretch it could be a difficult year.

More on the Blazers:

2005 Record: 5-6
Conference: Conference USA
Offensive Starters Returning: 5 (WR, LG, LT, RT, RB)
Defensive Starters Returning: 4 (DE, MLB, SLB, WLB)
Special Teams Starters Returning: 3 (K, P, KR)

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