The UAB football team concluded its 12th practice of fall camp on Monday, ahead of its season opener against Alabama A&M on Thursday, Sept. 1, at Protective Stadium in Birmingham.
It was hot and humid as the scorching days began to envelope the land.
Here are some observations on the limited access period granted to the media:
— As the Blazers enter the third and final full week of camp, UAB head coach Bryant Vincent said he wants to see the team develop its own identity and style before open the season in less than 17 days.
“It’s very simple, we really have to mark our identity. We’ve always been tough here, we’ve always been tough and we’ve always been physical, but this is a new team. Every year, it’s a new team and we have to mark our identity with this (second) scrum. Almost all conference teams are entering the third week of fall camp. Either you look at it as you want to cross it, or you want to attack every day. This team has to attack it every day and it is an essential part of who we are at UAB.
– Wide receiver Ryan Davis participated fully in practice today for the first time this fall. The red-shirted junior was present throughout the camp and finally put on a helmet and protections to open the third week of training.
“Ryan Davis is a warrior. He’s a guy you want on the pitch when the game is on the line. He went back to training and looked great, but he needs to shake off the rust a bit. We’re delighted to have it back today,” said Vincent.
–Redshirt junior running back AJ Gates solidified as the third option in the running game, behind co-starters DeWayne McBride and Jermaine Brown. The former Alabama and Mountain Brook product put on an outstanding performance in the first scrimmage of camp, leading the rushing offense with two touchdowns.
“AJ Gates has reduced his body weight, regained his speed, his strength and he understands all the protections of the attack. He had a great scrimmage, he had a great fall camp and he’s a guy we can count on right now going into Game 1,” Vincent said.
– The UAB secondary is certainly filled with experienced talent this season, but Colby Dempsey is making a name for himself in the first two weeks of camp. The second in the redshirt earns his place on the depth chart 2 daily and competes alongside veterans such as Starling Thomas V, CD Daniels and Devodric Bynum.
“Colby Dempsey is getting better every day, solidifying on the depth chart and pushing to play. I was very proud of him this fall,” Vincent said.
– Jermaine Brown Jr. was dressed but no helmet and pads today. The junior running back is enjoying a well deserved rest and there is no need to worry. The health of the team continues to be positive as the third week of fall camp begins.