McGee Turns To Perry Against MTSU
By Dan Harralson
It's homecoming week on the Southside of Birmingham.
Basketball season is always great and displays the UAB fan base in a fine way, but homecoming week is unparalleled to any other time of the year. Homecoming week brings out students, alumni, and places on the Southside uniting in school spirit for the UAB football program.
The damper is still having to play at Legion Field, which opened November 19, 1927, when Howard College defeated Birmingham-Southern, 9-0. The historic, once famous sporting venue is on its last legs. And that's saying it nicely. Even some UAB faithful do not care to attend games due to the current state of Legion Field. The inability of the board of trustees to allow an on-campus stadium also has caused fans to not attend the soon-to-be 86-year-old stadium located in a bad part of town.
The stadium issue needs to be solved soon. Head coach Garrick McGee could do wonders for the UAB football program if he had the ability to sell a new on-campus venue on the recruiting trail.
McGee building his program with an on-campus stadium would create a social environment for the city of Birmingham, much like the result the recently-relocated Birmingham Barons producted throught the city this summer. Having a Double-A baseball stadium blocks away from campus proved Birmingham to be a sports city downtown.
For now, the on-campus stadium will have to wait as McGee searches for ways to turn UAB into a team that contends for bowl games.
What To Expect From MTSU
MTSU (4-4, 2-2) has a balanced offense. The Blue Raiders offense starts with Logan Kilgore. The senior quarterback is right on par this year with his production as a starter the last two seasons. Kilgore has confidence after beating Marshall, 51-49, and nearly upsetting ECU, 24-17.
The difference this season is sophomore running back Jordan Parker. He's rushed 136 times for 639 yards through eight games this year.
How Will UAB Fair Against MTSU's Offense?
UAB enters the game with 1,308 rushing yards allowed on the ground. MTSU will run the ball with both Parker and Kilgore. Kilgore already has four more rushing attempts (26) than last year and is nearing his sophomore total of 32. UAB tends to tighten their rush defense as the game goes on. The Blazers have given up 404 of their 1,308 rushing yards in the first quarter.
Defending the pass also will challenge McGee's team. The UAB pass defense has been the Achilles heel after giving up 2,016 yards through the air. The Blazers have given up 50 passes of more than 15 yards and 20 passes for 25-plus yards.
If the Blazers do not tighten up their defense against the fluid MTSU offense, it could be a long day at Legion Field for the green and gold.
UAB Makes Change At Quarterback
Jonathan Perry was the starting quarterback for the majority of the 2011 season under then head coach Neil Callaway. Since McGee has arrived at UAB, he's started Austin Brown at quarterback. McGee only won three games last season with Brown as the primary signal caller and is off to a 2-5 start this year with Brown.
Perry started the first three games last season and has not been called on since — until now.
McGee is trying to provide a spark for his football team.
"Jonathan will start the game," McGee said. "He's practiced really well and obviously played really well in the game. He brought something into the game we hadn't seen."