BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Despite a condensed spring season, the UAB football team was able to get six practices in during a two week span from Feb. 29-March 9. Here is what we learned.
The Blazers have depth.
Starting with the defense, it is well documented that UAB returns nine starters. However, some of them such as Kristopher Moll, Dy’jonn Turner and Starling Thomas V were held out of spring ball, presenting an opportunity for other players to answer the call.
Specifically, linebacker Deshaun Oliver Jr., safety Kobe Griffin and cornerback Keondre Swoopes were running with the A1s in the absence of those starters.
A redshirt sophomore, Oliver Jr. battled injuries early in his career but is fully healthy and was having a strong spring in replace of Moll, a First Team All-Conference USA performer.
Griffin made the transition from linebacker to star safety, which was occupied during the season by Turner, another All-Conference performer. Griffin has been a staple on special teams the past two seasons and enters his redshirt junior year with a bunch of game experience.
Swoopes saw significant playing time as a true freshman. He, along with Brontae Harris who will be back from a season long injury, All-Conference corner TD Marshall, CD Daniels, Starling Thomas V, Devodric Bynum and Xavier Lanier have a very formidable group in the cornerbacks room.
Offensively, the Blazers have few positions to be filled. At slot receiver, Kendall Parham graduated, but Markus Grossman has stepped up into that position. Grossman had 13 catches for 100 yards last year and should see a massive spike in production in 2020.
The offensive line lost one of the most influential players since the return of the program in center Lee Dufour, along with left guard David Galten. Both had significant injuries during their senior seasons, providing playing time for returners Andrew Smith Jr., Patrick Nuss and Jakoby Jones, all of which made multiple starts. One player who did not see the field last year but had a terrific spring was guard Matthew Trehern.
As a reminder, all spring activities have been suspended, including the Pepsi Spring Game scheduled for April 4, and the Dragon Egg Hunt the following day, April 5.
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