The UAB Beat

PonyStampede.com was looking to learn more about UAB, so we turned to the guy that should know them best. We went 1-on-1 with Birmingham News UAB beat writer Steve Irvine. You will only find this type of interview on PonyStampede.com. Come inside Mustangs fan. It's open to everyone!

While UAB won pretty easily last week, it looks like Rice gave the Blazers some trouble in the second half? What were you overall impressions of the first game of the year and what did Rice do in that second half? "I think the main thing that Rice did differently in the second half was finish some drives. Rice threatened in the first half, but UAB's defense came up with some big plays to keep them off the board. You also have to factor in that UAB was ahead 27-3 at halftime. I do think they eased up a bit in the second half. Overall it was a very good first game for a UAB program that is trying to turn the corner under Neil Callaway.  


SMU had a grea showing out of the running game with Miami transfer Shawnbrey McNeal? It was something that was missing last year. What is more likely to give UAB fits? The passing game or the rushing attack?
"That's a tough question. UAB struggled to defend both for most of last season and were far from dominant against Rice. I was impressed with UAB's pass rush last week, even though the Blazers only had one sack. On Saturday, however, they will have to slow down a little bit because of McNeal's presence. That puts more pressure on the UAB secondary."


I was reading that the flu has UAB as well. To what extent at this time?
"The two-deep appears to be intact from what I could tell at practice on Wednesday. But that could change at any minute. We'll just have to wait and see what happens on Saturday. If it was me, though, I'd put Joe Webb in a bubble until kickoff."


What have practices been like this week for the Blazers?
"Neil Callaway has been disappointed with his team this week. They've been a little sluggish and not quite as crisp as leading up to the Rice game. We'll see if that has an impact on Saturday's outcome."


SMU has never played against Joe Webb. Talk about his progression from last year to this year and what we might not know about him?
"First of all, Joe is a tremendous athlete. He's a 6-foot-4, 220-pound guy can do some freaky things with his athletic ability. In a way that hurt him a bit last season. As good as he was last season, he made too many mistakes, didn't manage the game like he should and relied too much on his athletic ability. This year things have slowed down for him. You look at his passing numbers last week -- 12 of 15 with two touchdowns -- and it shows his improvement in that phase of the game. The other thing about Joe is nobody on that team is more of a competitor."


To find more of Irvine's thoughts, you can go here:
http://www.al.com/uabfootball/


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