UAB Demotes Defensive Coordinator After FAU Loss
By Dan Harralson
UAB lost a devastating home game to FAU, 37-23, on Saturday and now faces a tough road if it wants to keep its bowl game hopes alive.
Garrick McGee made adjustments to his coaching staff a day after the loss. Defensive coordinator Reggie Johnson has been demoted and linebackers coach Jimmy Wilson has been promoted to defensive coordinator. Johnson will stay on staff to coach outside linebackers.
"He's going to still be working with our linebackers," McGee said of Johnson. "Reggie's a very good football coach, very good friend. He's been around the block in the business. He understands how this business works. This business is about winning and about production. When you're not getting the production, you have to make a change."
McGee and Williams have experience with each other as they coached together one year at Toledo. Williams also is UAB's assistant head coach. The change comes after FAU came into Saturday's game with the 12th-best offense in the 14-team Conference USA. The Owls vastly improved Saturday and found their offense. UAB could not stop them and that was the difference in the game.
FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson had a lot to do with the upset. Johnson produced 404 yards of total offense and scored three touchdowns.
McGee apologized to the UAB fan base and the city of Birmingham immediately after the loss.
"Those numbers are not acceptable," McGee said. "We expect better and I'm not going to just stand around and watch and continue to say we're going to keep doing what we're doing and get better at it. I don't think that's fair to our fans and I don't think that's fair to our student-athletes."
Here are the highlights from Saturday's game:
• UAB's special teams were outstanding. Three blocked kicks, four solid returns by Greg Franklin, a 50-yard punt by Hunter Mullins. and three field goals by Ty Long were among the positives.
• UAB could not run the ball, which is surprising since FAU entered the game allowing an average of 216 yards on the ground.
• FAU had 37 first downs and converted 11 of 17 third downs. The Owls' time of possession nearly eclipsed 36 minutes. These things wins football games.
• FAU had 579 total yards of offense. UAB had only 307. FAU had complete balance with 299 yards through the air and 280 on the ground. UAB only managed 51 rushing yards and 256 passing yards.