BIRMINGHAM – Coming off its one and only bye week of the season, the UAB football team returns to Protective Stadium on Saturday to host Louisiana Tech. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW:
- UAB (5-3, 3-1 C-USA) and Louisiana Tech (2-6, 1-3 C-USA) have played closely contested games since UAB’s return to the playing field in 2017 with three of the four contests being decided by one possession. UAB is 3-1 in those four games, but Louisiana Tech won last year’s contest 37-34 in double overtime. The Bulldogs own a 6-3 advantage in the all-time series.
- With four remaining games on the schedule, UAB controls its own destiny of winning its fourth-consecutive C-USA West Division title. If the Blazers win out against Louisiana Tech, Marshall, No. 16 UTSA and UTEP, they will once again be West Division champions.
- Saturday marks UAB’s annual Salute to Service game in which UAB Athletics honors the service men and women across the country who serve to protect our nation’s freedom. Fans can participate in the Tickets for Troops initiative by purchasing a $10 ticket which will be donated to local branches and military organizations, retired veterans and their families in the Birmingham area. Click here to donate.
- Additionally, with the 11 a.m. kick, parking and tailgate lots will open at 7 a.m. and Blazer Village at 8 a.m.
HEAD COACH BILL CLARK:
“So obviously for us after eight weeks of games, it was good to get to an open date. I think we needed it coaches, players, and everybody. We didn’t do a lot of practicing last week. We did a little bit, but mainly we got healed up and because of the voting the NCAA has us all taking off on Tuesday so we practiced yesterday. We had a really good practice, first practice. Obviously we’ve got Louisiana Tech. I’ve got tons of respect for those guys and Coach Holtz. Their record is not indicative of what kind of team I think or know that they are. I think our guys are smart enough to know that. You know we had a tough loss last year at their place and we just know with the battles we’ve had with their team year after year. I know what team they are and I know how they feel with their backs against the wall. So we’re hoping to play our best football down the stretch. You know we’ve got four championship games in a row. Obviously it looks like it’s all on us to do everything we can do moving forward to be back in the championship game. Really that’s irrelevant based on week after week we’ve just got to do what we’re supposed to do this week and early game Saturday 11 a.m. so we need everybody to get up early and come out.”
On team needing a bye week…
“Yeah, when your trainer says this is the most beat up he has ever seen us. Sometimes that’s when I say luck really is a factor. When is your open date and who gets hurt. We’ve had tons or groins and hamstrings and I mean you can see wrists. We’ve probably had more broke wrists than I’ve ever been around. I just don’t talk about that a lot. I try not to make excuses, but it was a fact. I think there were only a few teams to go to week eight and not have an open date and we were one of them. So, mentally and physically in every way. When I say our schedule is a tough opponent every week. We’ve not just had to get physically ready, but emotionally ready. I think defensively we’ve had a huge revolving door. You can see we looked up versus Liberty and we had eight starters out that game. Everybody goes through things and we don’t want to make excuses. I will say it was much needed.”
On team controlling their own destiny…
“Yeah, we talk about it all the time and I think motivation for us is always practice motivation. You know just the will to prepare. We try to play the game every day in practice and I say when you’ve done what we’ve been blessed to do. You get everybody’s best game. You get guys that maybe you thought they were out find a way to come back and can play in those games. I do think the fact that we do control our own destiny and have a chance if we win out. What we can’t do is look ahead. I mean you can go back and when you get a chance to sit back and watch football and this game and this game is it an upset or what is it? It’s every game is a new game. Every team is based on who’s in and who’s hurt, but we are excited to have that opportunity. I told them yesterday that a lot of people would love to be where we are with this opportunity.”
On TD Marshall’s legacy…
“I think for TD you’ve got a guy and I think one of the things for us that was how valuable he was even injured. In that little stretch where he was out and it’s kind of like man we’re missing this guy who brings so much energy. You know he is a good player, but the energy he brings to his teammates. The guy always has a smile on his face. He’s a guy that can hold people accountable and yet do it in the right way. He came up to me after his injury on Sunday and talked about wanting to coach. So this is a guy that will probably be on our GA staff moving forward next year. That’s what I think about him.
Tight End Gerrit Prince:
On last year’s loss to Louisiana Tech…
“Obviously we have the bad taste in our mouth from last year still. We’ve got a bad taste in our mouth from last week. I mean last year it hurt losing the way that we lost. We definitely felt like we should have won the game so I know my teammates are going to give their best. We are expecting their best. I think it’s going to be a really good game. I’m looking forward to it.”
On how last game taught the team to respect everybody…
“I think you know we knew that. Obviously we didn’t play our best game. Its game by game like coach just said. I mean we’ve got to respect every opponent because everybody in our conference can beat us. It’s not the best team, it’s the best team on that day.”
On how beneficial it is having a bye week…
“It is huge. I know from talking with the guys it’s rough going eight straight weeks like that especially coming out of fall camp. It’s hard on your body and everyone is hurting. So I know its huge for everybody. I know a lot of guys were banged up hoping to make it to the bye week this week to get their bodies back right. I think we are going to be back rolling at full potential.”
Defensive End Kelle Sanders:
On focusing on Louisiana Tech…
“Coming off of last week and seeing what happen with Rice we’ve got to take every game and everybody the same. We can’t just go by record, the team, or the color on their jersey. We’ve just got to go out there and play that’s how I see it.”
On how beneficial the bye week is for the defense…
“It feels like we needed this bye week at this exact time because it feels like we are getting everybody back this week. All of our bodies are coming back and everybody is coming with a new fire in our belly to come back out and finish these four games strong. So I feel like we needed that bye week.”