BIRMINGHAM — Trent Dilfer’s opening assessment of his team’s play in his first spring game as the UAB football coach was the short and sweet.
“I thought it would be better than it was,” Dilfer said after the UAB won the spring game, 53-13, at Protective Stadium on Thursday night.
The bulk of the defensive scoring came from five second-half interceptions, which counted for eight points each in the scoring system put together by Dilfer for the game. A.D. Diamond and Carl Fauntroy each had two interceptions and Will Sorrells had the other.
“I thought defensively, it was winning football,” Dilfer said. “The first half, they got the ball moved on them, but, for the most part, they were able to get stops, hold them to field goals. In the second half, they came out with a winning mindset, an energy to them, a physicality to them and obviously a ball-hawking mentality.”
The defense also had several sacks, including one by Fish McWilliams on the opening possession that stalled a potential scoring march, and held the offensive scoreless in the first half.
“Offensively it was losing football,” Dilfer said. “It was careless. Careless penalties put us in bad situations in the first half, very difficult to overcome. What happens is your lack of technique is exposed. We have some players who have struggled with some technique changes. They’ll be able to see that on film, evaluate and hopefully make big improvements from it.”
Quarterback Jacob Zeno had some solid moments, completing 20 passes in 30 attempts for 188 yards. He also threw one of the interceptions and made a mistake by holding the ball too long on the opening possession sack.
“I thought, overall, he played pretty well,” Dilfer said. “Unfortunately when you’re a quarterback, he knows this, the standard is just so high on decision making and situational awareness. The sack on the first series was a really, really bad play. The great thing about Jacob is he will fix it.”
Zeno said the offense needs to get back to work next week in practice.
“I think as a whole, we’ve got to play better,” Zeno said. “We got after the defense e last week and they kind of put a chip on their shoulder and got after it today. We got to execute better, stop the pre-snap penalties. Other than that, we got another week in practice, we’ll get better from there.”
Landry Lyddy, who was the second quarterback in the game for the Blazers, threw for just 31 yards but did have a touchdown pass. His 2-yard scoring toss to Dazalin Worsham capped a 17-play, 75-yard scoring drive. The only other points came on a pair of Matt Quinn field goals.
One of the offensive highlights was the play of the running back position, particularly in the passing game. Starter Jermaine Brown Jr. had four carries for 20 yards in an abbreviated appearance on the field. Taven Curry, who was the No. 2 running back, had six carries for 18 yards and made a big impact in the passing game with seven catches for 60 yards. Lee Beebe had seven carries for 29 yards and caught two passes for 15 yards..
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