“Saturday, we had an opportunity to win that one. I thought, for the first time since the UTEP game, our offense executed. We were scoring points, especially in the second half when we had three drives and three touchdowns. We kept La Tech off the field. That’s the way we need them to execute the offense and give us a chance. It was great to see Kylen Granson, with his two explosive plays, give us our first touchdown. I thought our offensive line was absolutely dominant in that game. They didn’t give up a sack and rushed for (247) yards.
“The young players are growing up. Austin Trammell is doing some nice things for us. Will Phillips at tight end. I thought Sam Glaesmann’s performance was much improved. But still, there were too many turnovers. The first turnover, we had a great drive going. A little slot hits the foot of the tight end who falls into the quarterback and he fumbles. You can’t make that up.
“Young players are growing up. We’re getting to a point where they need to get (to). We’re going to keep working with them on ball security. We do that every day. We work on execution. We keep working to get better over there.
“Defensively, on third downs in the first half, we were absolutely amazing. La Tech was one-of-six on third down in the first half. In the second half, we weren’t very good. We gave up too many third downs. On that last drive on third-and-seven, the quarterback scrambled. That was a third down play we really needed to make. I thought if we could get the ball back at that point, then that was a game we were going to win with the way our offense was executing at that time.
“Emmanuel Ellerbee had 13 tackles which is what you come to expect from Emmanuel. Destri White had (seven) tackles and his best game. Preston Gordon had his first sack and Zach Abercrumbia was solid at nose guard.
“Jack Fox, once again, was excellent. He had over a 41-yard net (average). D.J. Green, who starts for us at linebacker but really didn’t play in this game because of the (Louisiana Tech) offense, so D.J. was on special teams and was an absolute monster.
“We’re heading to UAB. They’re amazing. They have one of the veteran defenses in the league in their first year back because of all the transfers and everybody that Coach (Bill) Clark has brought in there. They’re really playing well. They’re a first-year program coming back and sitting there at 5-3. He’s got to really be pleased with that. I thought they really did some strategic scheduling early to let those guys improve. They have a quarterback that’s a lot like UTSA. He runs extremely well. He’s a big competitor. He needs one more rushing touchdown to break a record. They have a running back, (Spencer) Brown, a freshman that’s rushed for 909 yards. He’s leading Conference USA with 133 yards a game. Their receiver (Andre Wilson) is an electrifying receiver and punt returner.
“Defensively, they’re massive up front and run really well. They’re based out of a three-down. It’s a game that is important for us to win. They like to take their shots down field so we’ll have to defend the deep ball. We’ve got to take care of the football and create some takeaways defensively.
“Once again, I saw a lot of improvement out there and we need to go on the road and get a Conference USA road win.”
On if UAB’s defensive experience concerns him:
“No. That’s just kind of amazing that a first-year program has that many veterans. You thought you’d see some freshman but they have players from all over the country. Bill (Clark) really has done a really good job. What’s amazing is they had two spring games before they played a regular season football game. But, they are playing hard. We have to go there, match their intensity and win. Being in these games isn’t a lot of fun. We need to win. Six games losing streaks are hard on everybody.”
On what a win would mean to the team:
“Winning heals a lot, even the second one of the year. It changes the locker room. When you’re losing, it even hurts them academically. It helps you as a student when you win because you’re whole attitude and approach to life is different. They come over here and they work hard. They grind and they try to improve, but a win would accelerate that. It would give us some confidence back.”