Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UAB Too Good to Be Pushover Bowden Not Overlooking Blazers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UAB Too Good to Be Pushover Bowden Not Overlooking Blazers

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, Times-Union staff writer

TALLAHASSEE -- Bobby Bowden won't soon forget Florida State's 1989 season-opener in the old Gator Bowl against Southern Mississippi, when Brett Favre and the Golden Eagles shocked the sixth-ranked Seminoles 30-26.

It likely will be a topic in Bowden's pre-game discussion this afternoon, as the sixth-ranked Seminoles (1-0) prepare to put their nation-leading 35-game home winning streak on the line against Alabama-Birmingham (1-0) at Doak Campbell Stadium (5:30 p.m., ESPN2).

While the Blazers don't have a quarterback of Favre's talent, they do have a veteran defense. UAB returns 10 starters from a unit that ranked 11th nationally in total defense last season; a team that knocked off LSU in Baton Rouge during a 7-4 season.

"This is the year not to play them [UAB]," Bowden said. "They're all seniors.

"What you've got is a Southern Mississippi-type of team. People don't like to play Southern Mississippi. They seem to play up to the standard of who they're playing. When they play somebody that's not very good, they kind of slop around a little. If they're playing somebody pretty good, they get pretty good."

UAB's 11-year old program, in its third year of Conference USA play, has been building methodically to this point.

Blazers coach Watson Brown has steered this program, which played its first two seasons as an NCAA Division III school, since 1995 with purpose. In his seven seasons, he's taken UAB on the road to Auburn, Arizona, Virginia Tech (twice), Nebraska and Tennessee, playing well enough in recent years to gain some confidence.

"Two things really make a program good -- recruiting players and scheduling," Brown said. "I don't think there's any doubt you get better by playing good people, but in football more than basketball, you have to be careful physically because if you do too much, you end up losing players."

After routing Montana State 41-13 last Thursday, the Blazers have their health and their confidence coming into the game. …

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