ATLANTA (WIAT) — WIAT 42 News sports reporter Lauren Sisler got a chance to sit down one-on-one with Louisville offensive coordinator, Garrick McGee. They had a chance to talk about the time McGee spent coaching at UAB, as well as what Louisville fans can expect from the team Saturday and throughout the rest of the season.
LS: You spent two years as head coach at UAB before joining Bobby Petrino here at Louisville. Take me back through those last couple of years. The then and now, and reflect on that for me.
GM: You know, I’ve grown a lot. Those two years were good for me, just growing up, really understanding the big picture of not only just your program, but just college football and how it all works and fits together. Understanding how important it is for every aspect for your program to be clicking on the same page so I feel like I am a very mature football coach at this point in my life.
LS: What was your reaction when you learned that the football program at UAB was being reinstated?
GM: I was excited. Not necessarily for the players, because most of the players are gone. I was excited for the citizens, the fans, UAB fans in the city tonight. I was the guy that walked around the city, all those housing projects right there by Legion Field, I would get out with my own tickets and walk through and hand those tickets out, and I knew how important that team was to those people. So when the team got shut down there’s a lot of hard-core Birmingham citizens that love that program and that’s the people that I was really happy for when they brought the program back. When you are in a state that has two super power programs. There’s 100,000 and 80,000 fans in two of those stadiums, but there are a lot of fans in Birmingham that can’t necessarily afford to go to those games and they root for UAB and they like coming to UAB games and want to see that program win and that’s the people I was more excited for.
LS: What ultimately led you back to Bobby Petrino?
GM: One, I trust him. Second, just the commitment to compete on this level. There is just something about, you know we are going to run out there on opening night. There’s going to be 85-90,000 passionate fans. Half of them are going to be in Cardinal red and the other half rooting for the Auburn Tigers. It’s going to be intense. There’s going to be great players all over the field. There’s going to be great coaches on both sidelines. There’s going to be adjustments being made, national televised audience, so just that level of competition had something to do with it also.
LS: What stands out to you about Auburn’s quarterback, Jeremy Johnson?
GM: Well, I know Jeremy coming out of high school. Great basketball player first, and then as a quarterback, he’s a tremendous passer. I know exactly who he is. I’ve seen him up close as a high school player. I think Gus does a good job. I think he understands the type of quarterback he has. He was at Tulsa, he was able to throw the ball around the field. Came to Auburn, had Cam Newton and was able to run the quarterback the last couple of years with Nick Marshall and was able to run the quarterback and get yards so I think his system is multiple enough he’ll know what to do with a passing quarterback.
LS: Okay, now we take it to the other side of the football, Will Muschamp one of the best defensive minds in college football. How do you prepare your offense for a Will Muschamp coached defense?
GM: It’s a multiple defense that forces you to understand concepts and that’s the challenge. For a quarterback coach it’s a tremendous challenge. It’s kind of what I’ve always prided myself on, is being able to get in the classroom and teach my guys the game. All of that is going to be tested.
LS: Big expectations for this team this season. A contender in the ACC, also a possible playoff berth, all on the horizon. What is your confidence level in this team to go out there and perform, and get the job done?
GM: I think everybody at this point believes they are a contender because everybody is still undefeated, everybody loves their team. It’s just going to be about the commitment to doing things right. That’s how you win football games. You take care of the football. You score when you get the opportunity to score. You don’t miss opportunities. Defensively you stop the run, tackle the ball in open space. Then you have to kick the ball really well and take care of the ball in the return game. And if you can do those things consistently and really play with a lot of passion and enthusiasm you give yourself a chance to win any game. We have enough talent to win against anybody we are playing against we are just going to have to focus and concentrate on for 60 straight minutes for every game. Because every game is going to come down to the wire.
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