UAB head coach Neil Callaway said he saw some improvement from his team on Wednesday but admits there are still plenty of things to work on.
"It was just an average practice to be honest with you," Callaway said. "The team stuff has gotten better, which is good. This is our second day working on the SMU gameplan and it has improved. I thought the 11-on-11 stuff wasn't as crisp as it needs to be, but we're going to keep working."
One of the things the Blazers are dealing with is trying to not only contain SMU's passing offense under the direction of second-year head coach June Jones, but also Mustangs' running back Shawnbrey McNeal, who rushed for 158 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown in the 31-23 win over Stephen F. Austin last Saturday.
Callaway said when a vaunted passing attack has a good running game, it affects the entire defense and the preparation.
"Having a good running game doesn't just affect the secondary, it affects everybody," Callaway said. "Whether it's in the responsibilities or somewhere else, the entire defense is affected. SMU is a throw-first football team so that's what you have to stop. But then when you throw a good running game in there it really complicates things."
In last week's 44-24 win over Rice, UAB out-rushed the Owls, 295 yards to 156. Quarterback Joe Webb led the ground attack with 194 yards on 20 carries, while John Shepherd was Rice's leading rusher with six carries for 52 yards.
Saturday's UAB/SMU game will be carried on the Blazers ISP Sports Network and can be heard in the Birmingham area on flagship station WUHT-FM 107.7. The pregame show will begin at 1:30 p.m.