Opponent Preview: UAB

Opponent Preview: UAB

Lance Roffers
The wait is over. One of the most anticipated seasons in the past decade looks like it will finally get underway this Thursday as Miami is set to take on UAB at Hard Rock Stadium. If you’re reading this article you already know Miami is changing much of what they do on offense and has several new additions to their squad- along with one notable opt out on defense- but what does their opponent look like?

Sit back and read on as I give the first opponent preview of 2020 in the form of the UAB Blazers, who will come into the game 1-0 after a victory over FCS foe Central Arkansas.

Personnel

Quarterback-

Tyler Johnston #17
- Typical college QB who is strong and physical in a running offense. Struggles with accuracy, but is a gamer type who will make plays with his legs and arm both. He’s 10-4 as a starter at UAB and threw for 2,250 yards and 17 touchdowns last year, but also 15 interceptions. Do not be fooled; he is not a P5 talent.

Running Back-

Spencer Brown #4-
Tackle breaker who likes to run high at 6’, 220. 150 carries for 566 yards last season (3.8 YPC). Battled injury last year, but was very good as a sophomore. He is adept at breaking tackles and Miami needs to rally to the football to take some of that fight away. He’s a very nice G5 RB.

Jermaine Brown #1- Your typical G5 RB who is undersized but shifty at 5-8, 175. 86 carries for 442 yards (5.2 YPC) as a freshman. He can pop a run if you lose contain.

Wide Receiver-

Austin Watkins #6
- The best player on UAB’s roster, he is a legit P5 talent and could see his name called in the 7th round range of the NFL draft. Big, physical receiver who breaks tackles. 57 catches for 1,092 yards last season with 6 touchdowns. He could start for Miami.

Myron Mitchell #5- Another quality receiver, he is more of the glider of the group rather than a physical player. 34 catches for 554 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Offensive Line-

Experienced OL, who will play all five OL with four or more years in a college system. Big, meat and potatoes OL who isn’t athletic but looks to lean on you all game long with a bunch of 23-24 year-olds. If UAB has a chance to win, it’ll be because this experienced group holds their own up front.

Andrew Smith #55- RS Senior is the Center and looks to get to the second level. He’s fine.

Matthew Trehern #61- RS Junior is squatty and nasty. Not quick or athletic, but is a fighter.

Greg Fecanin #66- RS Senior is the other guard for UAB and is exactly like Trehern. Not real athletic, but a fighter and likes to run block.

Sidney Wells #62- Senior is the RT and is another massive player at 325 pounds. Experienced and tough, he is their best OL.

Colby Ragland #53- RS Senior is the LT and he’s a big man who is not real athletic. They will give him help and he will also cut block at times. Not very talented player but a hard worker and tough.

Defensive Line-

Tony Fair #90-
Big fella is the NT at 6-3, 335 pounds. Experienced RS Senior who is solid against the run and tries to keep the LB’s clean. He offers nothing in the pass rush department. He’s just a guy.

Fish McWilliams #99- Another wide body on the interior at 6’, 315 pounds, the RS Soph. is a decent player. Mostly a run stuffer.

Alex Wright #16- A nice looking athlete at 6-7, 260 the So. Uses his length well and has a quick first step. He can play.

Jordan Smith #22- Both their outside rushers are long at 6-7 and 260 pounds. He’s also quick and plays an attacking, upfield style. Nice player.

Linebacker-

Kris Moll #6
- 104 tackles last season, they use him on stunts to rush the passer and try to keep him clean to scrape and chase ball carriers. He’s a key on defense for them.

Defensive Backs-

Brontae Harris #1
- Missed all of last season with an injury, but the press-man coverage specialist brings experience and physicality to their defensive backfield. RS Senior is a transfer from Alabama A & M.

Basically, every one of their DB’s is this style of player. Grabby, physical, not afraid to hit, contribute to the run defense. It’s a defense that knows who they are and recruits to it.

Offense
Offensively, UAB is a power running team who will use variations of the spread. Their base alignment is shotgun or Pistol. They struggle throwing the ball, but they will test you up front and force you to stay in your run fits and be physical.
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A quick way to lose games is to let the QB stand back with zero pressure and give free releases against your zone coverage. UAB has a QB who stares it down and has to see it to throw it. They run a slant/flat combo and the QB just has to read one side of the field here. The zone defender comes up for the flat and they throw a slant right behind him. It’ll be important not to allow free and easy releases with zero pressure. If you force this QB to read the field, you will get turnovers opportunities from him.
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Simple passing offense and a pretty straightforward running game. They want to get their counter and Inside-Zone running game going and then use play-action to create big plays when the defense tries to take away the run.

Defense
UAB runs a multiple front with standup OLB’s to bring a pass rush from different angles and disguise blitzes. Often times, UAB will run a front with only two defensive linemen down and try to use their speed to fit gaps and get upfield. They run a linear 1-gap style and play physical man coverage defense.

Their secondary is experienced and talented and is the strength of their defense.
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The defense will stunt and look to get free rushers and then play coverage on 3rd and long. This is a basic scheme they run, but they run it well.

By the Numbers
Last year, UAB went 9-5 and lost in the CUSA championship game badly. Then they lost to Appalachian State in their bowl game. You will hear about them winning 9 games and that does get your attention, but a closer look at the numbers paints a different picture.

UAB runs a plodding offense that averaged 23.1 points per game, good for 102nd out of 130 teams last year. They did allow only 21.6 points per game, but were shredded by the four best teams on their schedule: Tennessee (30-7), Southern Mississippi (37-2), Florida Atlantic (49-6), Appalachian State (31-17).

Their Simple Rating System was 95th out of 130 teams due in large part to the fact they won a lot of grind it out games- including just 24-19 against FCS Alabama State. Even worse was their strength of schedule, which was a lowly 126th out of 130 teams.

UAB was very good at home (6-0), but on the road were mediocre (3-4).

Overall
A good opponent to play in the first game because they are physical, tough, well-coached and will fight. They know who they are and they do everything to that style. They are not trying to win beauty contests and they do not try to win beating you at your game. They want to run the ball, play physical and tough, and grind it out. This will be the most experienced team Miami faces all season, most likely. Almost every starter is a four year player or more.

The truth of the matter is UAB is a marginal club. They want to play a three-yards and a cloud of dust style on offense and play physical defense. In the passing game they have two weapons who can play, but very little else. Their QB is a one-read inaccurate player and their RB is a try-hard kid with little speed.

There are two kids on UAB who I believe would have a chance to start for Miami and that is all. When you are facing an opponent with such an inferior level of talent and are at home, the result should be a lopsided outcome and that’s exactly what I expect in this one.

Miami probably starts slowly due to excitement and getting their feet under them in their first game, whereas UAB has the advantage of already playing a game, but expect Miami to take control in the second half and win this game 37-13.
 

Comments (29)

I think Central Arkansas had 3 interceptions vs UAB, the QB turns it over. I went to the Conference USA championship game in Boca vs FAU. FAU's stable of backs ran all over them and the fast pace had their head spinning.

Miami will be able to run the ball and my prediction is that the TEs, Brevin and Mallory, have big games.
 
They just changed the time for the Lakers Game this Thursday Wonder wht ESPN will do about the Miami game! Since the Heat vs bucks are over!
Has nothing to do with Canes game. NBA changed the start time to not compete second half with KC/HOU game...
 
From what I saw of UAB recently they'll struggle passing on our D. If we shut down their run game we can tee off on 3rd downs with our pass rushers. It comes down to how quickly our offense can get going; if they start fast we'll blow them out. I expect some hiccups but once we settle in should look good overall.
 
They have legit size and experience in the trenches on both sides. My eyes will be on our OL with these tall DEs and big senior DTs. Our OL got bullied last year by less.

They have physical CBs. Harley and especially Pope have struggled getting separation with CBs in their faces. I see Payton being the go to guy this game. Will Pope live up to the Greentree hype?

The UM secondary should feast. The chain should be coming out early and often. The qb balls were sailing like he was in the Regatta last week.

They have had a week to work out the kinks. We need to come out not making too many bonehead mistakes. More importantly we need shed blocks and to tackle. No BS house calls like the Toney run last opener.

We’re all looking forward to seeing what Lashlee comes out with this game. And for darn good reason. I don’t think we will see a vanilla offense being afraid to show their hand. This isn’t some cup cake for last years UM team. I expect Lashlee to come out with guns blazing.
 
From what I saw of UAB recently they'll struggle passing on our D. If we shut down their run game we can tee off on 3rd downs with our pass rushers. It comes down to how quickly our offense can get going; if they start fast we'll blow them out. I expect some hiccups but once we settle in should look good overall.

This is exactly what I was thinking. I said not to get cute on D bc I don’t wanna get burned on a 3rd and long draw play bc we decided to stunt or slant our d linemen
 
This is exactly what I was thinking. I said not to get cute on D bc I don’t wanna get burned on a 3rd and long draw play bc we decided to stunt or slant our d linemen
Baker needs to keep it simple and let our athletes do their jobs. Our improved speed at linebacker should make baker's job easier so he better not over think his scheme.
 
They have legit size and experience in the trenches on both sides. My eyes will be on our OL with these tall DEs and big senior DTs. Our OL got bullied last year by less.

They have physical CBs. Harley and especially Pope have struggled getting separation with CBs in their faces. I see Payton being the go to guy this game. Will Pope live up to the Greentree hype?

The UM secondary should feast. The chain should be coming out early and often. The qb balls were sailing like he was in the Regatta last week.

They have had a week to work out the kinks. We need to come out not making too many bonehead mistakes. More importantly we need shed blocks and to tackle. No BS house calls like the Toney run last opener.

We’re all looking forward to seeing what Lashlee comes out with this game. And for darn good reason. I don’t think we will see a vanilla offense being afraid to show their hand. This isn’t some cup cake for last years UM team. I expect Lashlee to come out with guns blazing.
We had cupcakes last year? I could have sworn they were dog turds.
 
They have a freshmans backup QB who got time last week. Is supposedly the better long term prospect and they will try to get him time when they can. Kind of backfired on them last week as they had momentum.

Johnston is definitely turnover prone, and should have an itchy trigger finger with the pressure we will put on him. I hope our DB's are ready to jump some routes
 
Good preview . . . as usual . . . Good team for D to tighten up and toughen up against . . .
 
Two things:

1. They have a dude named Fish McWilliams... come on
2. Sounds like Al Golden is their coach
 
Two things:

1. They have a dude named Fish McWilliams... come on
2. Sounds like Al Golden is their coach

Clark is a legit coach. Remember this program was put in its grave by the state of AL a few years ago and he resurrected it. You can only do so much as a coach when your opponent is more talented than you at every position across the board though.
 
Clark is a legit coach. Remember this program was put in its grave by the state of AL a few years ago and he resurrected it. You can only do so much as a coach when your opponent is more talented than you at every position across the board though.
It seems like it honestly, I'm not discrediting that at all. I should've put more context behind that thought, I meant he wants to play like Al Golden (see below from Lance):

"A good opponent to play in the first game because they are physical, tough, well-coached and will fight. They know who they are and they do everything to that style. They are not trying to win beauty contests and they do not try to win beating you at your game."
 

2021 Commits

S
6'5"
220
Fort Lauderdale, FL
DT
6'4"
255
Miami, FL
OG
6'2"
295
Miami, FL
DT
6'4"
290
Miami, FL
DE
6'5"
210
Miami, FL
WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
6'4"
210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
S
5'11"
200
Miami, FL

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2020 Schedule

09/10
UAB
Miami Gardens, FL
W 31 - 14
09/19
Louisville
Louisville, KY
W 47 - 34
09/26
Florida State
Miami Gardens, FL
10/10
Clemson
Clemson, SC
10/17
Pittsburgh
Miami Gardens, FL
10/24
Virginia
Miami Gardens, FL
11/06
NC State
Raleigh, NC
11/14
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
11/21
Georgia Tech
Miami Gardens, FL
11/28
Wake Forest
Winston-Salem, NC
12/05
North Carolina
Miami Gardens, FL
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