BIRMINGHAM — The first week of Trent Dilfer’s first spring practice as the UAB football coach ended on Friday. Now, the Blazers take a week off for spring break.
As they reach the break, Dilfer was asked what he saw from his team this week.
“I would say we’re a high-ceiling, low-floor team right now,” Dilfer said. “Our ceiling is really high. We have good players. The previous staff did a good job of building a foundation and recruiting. Now the floor is low now because there is inconsistency. You raise the floor through repetition, through habit training, familiarity. We’re only three days in. I expect the floor to be raised rather quickly once we get back and get that repetition.”
UAB’s first two days of spring practice came in shorts and helmets. The players added shoulder pads on Friday for the first time in spring. It changed the tenor of practice.
“I told them after practice, one of the best things we did was protect each other,” Dilfer said. “You got to learn how to be a really good thud team. You find a lot of thud environments. There’s days you just don’t want to tackle each other, you don’t want to hit each other, but you still got to get game-like reps and such. Teaming them how to practice in a thud situation is really important. You also develop good habits.”
The players now head away for spring break. When they come back, the Blazers will begin the second week of spring practice.
“I think we have to be real careful when we get back, not overworking them day 1 and 2,” said Dilfer, who will turn 51 on Monday. “Their health is of the utmost importance. I think they’ll make good decisions over spring break, but I was a college kid on spring break before, so were you guys. They’re going to have some fun too. We got to make sure when we bring them back, to get them reacclimated. It will still be a real practice on that Monday, but I think it will be a refresher on some of the stuff.”
The tone will change soon after.
“As the week grows, I really want to see the intensity grow,” Dilfer said. “We will tackle that week, for the first time, in short-yardage situations. And we, as a staff, identify guys we want to get the ball to. People have asked me what is this offense called. It’s called ‘Get the Dude the Ball.’ Let’s start identifying the dude and get him the ball.”
They already have some of that in mind. The receiver position appears to be loaded with playmakers, and when asked about running backs Jermaine Brown Jr. and Demetrius Battle, he called them “two pros.”
“Their mentality, they take a professional approach to life, not just football,” Dilfer said. “They’re in early. They’re out late. They’re taking care of their academics. They’re leaders on and off the field. They have great habits, on and off the field, so they’re models for everyone else to look at. Those guys, they can ball.”
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