Image Credit: UAB Athletics
Since resurrection, the UAB offense has produced just enough for the Blazers to get invited to three straight bowls, win two division titles, and one conference championship. The defense can’t be given total credit – since without a few points no game is winnable – but inconsistencies from the offense have led to a handful of avoidable losses.
Out With the Old, In With the Old
After leaving a struggling South Alabama program, Offensive Coordinator Bryant Vincent returned to UAB, where he was on staff in 2014. He replaced Les Koenning after the 2017 season that saw the Blazers 7th in the conference in total yards per game, 10th in passing yards per game, and 5th in rushing yards per game.
In Vincent’s first year, UAB moved up to 2nd in rushing, but down to 11th in passing. This was enough to win the conference, as the Blazer Firewall defense was impenetrable. Last year saw a drop in rushing production with an incredibly young offensive line. Again, it was enough to win the division. However, leading the conference in interceptions and a measly 23 points per game against the nation’s weakest schedule isn’t the kind of football that wins trophies or puts butts in seats. This isn’t a hit piece on Bryant or his offenses – so far it’s just stats.
Here Comes the Commentary
Coach Clark obviously likes Coach Vincent. He had him as OC in 2014, then grabbed him back when he was available in 2017. If Blazer faithful trust Bill Clark, then they should trust that Vincent is the man for the job. Clark is a defensive head coach and this less-than-thrilling offensive game plan might be exactly what he wants. Whether fans like it or not, it seems Vincent is here to stay.
The Blazers have won, at times in spite of their offense. That said, quarterback play and total offensive production have been unimpressive the last two years. This was particularly evident in UAB’s 9 picks in their three regular season losses a season ago. This isn’t all the quarterbacks’ fault. The quarterback coach and OC have to shoulder portions of that burden. In this case, both of those people are Vincent.
A Breath of Fresh Air
The addition of Joe Craddock to the UAB staff and the returning offensive weapons should put up more points. Craddock had some offensive success at SMU, despite the failings at Arkansas. It’s also curious how he took the fall from SEC Offensive Coordinator to C-USA tight ends coach. Will he have more influence on the game plan than the typical TE coach?
If the offense turns the corner and amps up production, it’ll be hard to tell who deserves the praise. As long as we see growth on offense, though, spreading the love around will be the best problem to have.