BlazerTV.com football reporter Tyler Cantrell talked with UAB athletic director Brian Mackin this week in anticipation of the start of the football season. Topics discussed include the possible continuation of the Troy football series and UAB’s role in this year’s Labor Day Golden Classic.
Tyler Cantrell: The excitement level has been higher going into this football season. What has been the feedback that you are hearing about the 2012 season?
Brian Mackin: There definitely is a buzz in the community and with our fans in particular. They know what Coach McGee has done to come in change the mindset and culture of our football program. He’s doing it the right way, starting with the strength and conditioning. Dewayne Chandler has done a fantastic job getting the kids ready physically and Garrick is working on that mental aspect to get them ready to compete and know they can win.
Cantrell: Looking back at the 1st fall scrimmage, were you a little surprised at the number of fans that attended that event?
Mackin: You know, I wasn’t…because we had promoted that scrimmage as the first one and I knew there was that excitement to see the new product on the field. I was just very excited to know that our fans saw something different. They felt like there was a different feel amongst our kids and the coaching staff and they could feel that energy.
Cantrell: This weekend there are three games at Legion Field with UAB starting off the weekend. What are your general thoughts on the effect of the Labor Day Golden Classic on UAB?
Mackin: When the city came to me and approached me with this three game series and the Saturday double header in particular…Garrick and I talked about it and decided this was going to be best for the city of Birmingham. It was going to be good for our community to have Legion Field packed for two games in a row. There is a lot of excitement around what the city is going to do with bands and the cook off. I just think it’s a good thing for Birmingham. The more people we can bring down to Legion Field, our home field, is a good thing. I think it’s a win-win.
Cantrell: Troy is becoming a bigger and bigger rival. What can you tell fans about the future of that rivalry and possibly continuing to play every year?
Mackin: The series runs through 2014. Coach McGee and I will sit down and look at our strategy as we go forward. It’s been a great series. It’s an easy bus ride for our fans to go when we play at Troy and vise versa when they come to Birmingham. It’s an in-state rival. I think it’s a good thing for the state and it’s been good for our program.”
Cantrell: More Troy fans may travel to Birmingham Saturday because it’s the first game of the season and vise versa for UAB fans to go there to open the 2013 season. Was scheduling Troy in the first game intentional?
Mackin: It was…to put them on the first game. Unfortunately, last year with our conference, we were off the first game and then we had twelve straight games. In order to ensure that never happens again, we placed Troy in that first game slot just to make sure it doesn’t happen again. It does bring excitement to know that Troy is going to bring a big crowd. I know our fans are excited and I expect them to be out in force. I expect a very, very good crowd.
The UAB Blazers, led by new head coach Garrick McGee, will start their season against in-state rival Troy this Saturday, September 1st at Legion Field. Kickoff is set for 11:00 AM.
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