Schedule preview: UAB

Blazers should be able to score, but defense has big holes

Updated: July 7, 2012, 5:43 PM ET
By Austin Ward | BuckeyeNation

UAB at Ohio State

Sept. 22, 2012, At Ohio Stadium (kickoff and TV TBA)

About the Blazers

2012 record: 3-9 (3-5 Conference USA)

Ohio State all-time against Cal: First meeting

Top returners: RB Greg Franklin, RB Dontavius Jackson, QB Jonathan Perry, WR Jackie Williams, OL Chris Hubbard, DL Diaheem Watkins, LB Marvin Burdette, LB Greg Irvin

[+] EnlargeGarrick McGee
Marvin Gentry/US PresswireFormer Arkansas assistant Garrick McGee is UAB's first-year head coach.
Key losses: DB Jamie Bender, RB Pat Shed, LB Lamanski Ware, DB Andre Hicks, DB Chase Daniel, DB T.J. Ballou, P Trey Ragland

2011 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Franklin* (430 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Passing: Perry* (2,042 yards, 10 touchdowns, 8 interceptions)

Receiving: Williams* (607 yards)

Tackles: Bender (119)

Sacks: Watkins* (1.5)

Interceptions: Bender, Daniel, Ballou and Marquis Coleman (2)

What they're saying: "My offensive philosophy is to put as much pressure on the defense as we possibly can. We're going to be attacking and playing with different personnel groups. We will have different formations to run our base-core plays. We are going to get our quarterback to execute at an extremely high level. ... We will be explosive and we will expect to light it up every time we go out." -- UAB coach Garrick McGee at his introductory news conference

Three things to watch

1. Scoreboard overload:Given the track record of the new coach and the number of returning starters Garrick McGee has to work with, the Blazers figure to put up their share of points. The odds of them keeping opponents off the board don't look all that great on paper. UAB allowed nearly 37 points per game last season -- and it has lost seven starters from that unit, including the entire secondary. McGee is likely going to need to dial up an attack like the one he helped lead at Arkansas in order to stay in games.

2. Last-chance impressions: Business picks up quickly once conference play opens for the Buckeyes, so barring injuries, there isn't likely to be much time to audition for a job once UAB comes to campus and wraps up action outside of the league. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has made it clear that he's not going to tinker with the depth chart much even during training camp, but if there are going to be contributions from the first recruiting class he signed with the program, it should be clear by this point.

3. Get comfortable: The Blazers have nowhere to go but up after ranking dead last in the nation in sacks a year ago, making them the closest thing an opposing quarterback had to a bye week physically. UAB finished with just eight sacks for the season, so without even accounting for Braxton Miller's mobility, the Buckeyes should have plenty of time to work on their passing game -- which should also benefit from facing a completely revamped secondary.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter