UAB Weekly Press Conference: Week 2

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Birmingham, AL (WIAT)-UAB enters week 2 of the college football season 0-1 following a heartbreaking loss to Troy in overtime.  Now they focus their attention on No. 12 LSU.  The Blazers travel to Baton Rouge for a 6pm kickoff on Saturday.  Garrick McGee, Jamarcus Nelson, Jamari Staples, Jake Ganus, and Diaheem Watkins met with the media on Monday to discuss their game plan for the Tigers.

Below are player interview plus the full press release, courtesy UAB Media Relations.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — UAB head football coach Garrick McGee, along with junior wide receiver Jamarcus Nelson, freshman wide receiver Jamari Staples, sophomore linebacker Jake Ganus and junior defensive end Diaheem Watkins, spent their Labor Day previewing this week’s LSU game at Monday’s media luncheon.

UAB faces the No. 12-ranked Tigers on Saturday at 6 p.m. CT, in a game that will be televised on ESPNU. Fans can also listen to the contest at Tiger Stadium on the Blazers’ IMG Sports Network. Fans can tune into the game locally on WUHT-FM 107.7.

The Blazers enter Saturday’s contest with a 1-0 all-time series record against LSU. In the only previous meeting between the teams (Sept. 23, 2000), kicker Rhett Gallego knocked in a 32-yard field goal as time expired to lift UAB to a 13-10 win on Homecoming in Baton Rouge.

For the latest news on the UAB football team, as well as all Blazer sports, follow the UAB Athletics Twitter account: @UABathletics. Ticket information for 2013 home games can be found on or by calling the UAB ticket office at 205-975-8221.

Below are quotes from Monday’s luncheon:

Head Coach Garrick McGee

On his overall thoughts on theTroy game … 

“There was a point in that game where everybody wearing green and gold was committed to us. Our team has shown that we are going to play lights-out, hard-nosed football. We are going to play like we care about this program and this university. But that is not enough to win. That is a good start. That is how you get yourself into a position to win. When the game is on the line, you have to make the right decisions and the plays to win the game.”

On Troy QB Corey Robinson’s performance last Saturday … 

“He was fantastic. He put the ball exactly where it was supposed to be most of the time. His ability to be accurate consistently was as good as I have seen.”

On the play of UAB’s quarterbacks against Troy …

“I thought they did really well. Austin (Brown) did a really good job for a long time in the game. Jonathan (Perry) came in and made some good decisions. There was a play when Jonathan was scrambling around and could have taken a sack. He threw the ball away and gave us a chance on third down. That showed his growth. Austin has the ability to get back, get set and get the ball out of his hand — and he eliminated the sacks.”

On preparing his team for LSU…

“We are focused on getting ourselves better. We have to spend the next couple of days studying the film and figuring out who we are. We want to make sure that we play the best that we can play. I think it is a really good thing for our kids to play in that type of environment.”

“Coach (Les) Miles does a really good job. They are going to be the same team year in and year out. They are very aggressive on defense and look to control the ball on offense.”

On facing LSU QB Zach Mettenberger…

“It’s important for any defense to affect any quarterback you are playing, forcing him to make post-snap decisions and not letting him get into a rhythm. That’s important for any defense against any offense.”

On UAB freshman WR Jamari Staples’ performance against Troy …

“I knew he was a very good player. I knew he had size, length and the ability to make plays. But I did not know that he was as mature as he is. That’s what stands out to the rest of this team. He’s more mature than the average freshman, and that gives him the opportunity to make plays.”

On UAB junior WR Jamarcus Nelson and his record-setting performance last Saturday …

“A year ago, he was everybody’s little brother. Now, he is the most experienced receiver we have. He has accepted that role and has done a great job getting himself in position to play a lot of snaps. He had a very good training camp. Him playing as well as he did Saturday did not surprise the coaching staff.”

On LSU’s defense … 

“There are different styles of defense. They have a different way of playing defense than Troy does. You have to neutralize the defensive front first. That’s the same plan we had last week.”

On having an aggressive mentality as a head coach …

“I have been very fortunate to be around some very good coaches. I worked for Tom Coughlin, John Robinson, Randy Walker, and Bob Petrino. Bob taught me that when you get the opportunity to go for the kill, you go for it because you don’t get that opportunity much. Those guys have taught me to be aggressive, and to go for it. I trust myself and I trust my team.”

Junior DE Diaheem Watkins

On getting back on the field after missing five games last season due to injury … 

“It felt good. I was shocked at how fast it went. I got back on the field and those first couple of plays I had some jitters, but after that I got used to it.”

On expectations going into LSU’s Tiger Stadium … 

“Just to have fun. They are going to have a lot of people there so I just look at it as if all those people are there to watch me and just to have fun with it.”

On confidence from coaching staff after Troy game … 

“You want to know that they have confidence in you and that you can do more. We did have some good plays, but we need to do more and we feel like we have more in us. Being the first game, I feel like we did a lot of good things that we can build on.”

Junior WR Jamarcus Nelson

On UAB record 97-yard kickoff return for TD against Troy … 

“I just trusted what I saw. Coach McGee and coach Sanders did a really good job of preparing us to come out and make a big play. On the return, I just hit the hole hard and they had one person deep and I was able beat him and make a big play.”

On going into an atmosphere like LSU’s Tiger Stadium on Saturday … 

“We are very excited but at the same time we have been in situations like that before in Florida my freshman year and then South Carolina and Ohio State last season.”

Senior LB Jake Ganus

On UAB’s defensive game plan for LSU … 

“Everyone is going to have to do their job. Eleven guys have got to get to the ball every play. The big thing with us is leveraging the ball, so everyone has got to get where they are supposed to be, keep the ball inside, and make tackles.”

On the strong support UAB received from fans at the Troy game … 

“At times during the game, I could look up into the crowd and wave my hands to get them excited, and our crowd was louder than their crowd. I’m not sure how many more people they had than us, but that’s big. It’s fun to play in front of those fans, and we really appreciate all the support.”

On playing at LSU’s Tiger Stadium … 

“We treat it like any other game. We played South Carolina and Ohio State last year, so that doesn’t really phase me and I don’t think it phases anybody else. We are just going to go out there and play the game of football like we know how.”

Freshman WR Jamari Staples

On playing in his first college game at Troy… 

“It was very exciting. I came out calm, cool and collected. I wasn’t going to try to overwhelm myself. I was just trying to take it as another football game. It was hard to stay calm, especially since there were a lot of people out there.”

On staying composed in an environment like LSU’s Tiger Stadium … 

“I will just have to approach it like I did this week. I’ll try not to overwhelm myself, and I’ll stay relaxed and focused on what I need to do. I need to focus on the little things for this week.”

On adjusting to expectations at UAB … 

“I think I know my role, and I know what coach McGee and my other coaches are expecting out of me. I am going to do my best to live up to it.”


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