When UAB hired Garrick McGee to be its head coach, replacing Neil Callaway, the understanding was McGee would come in and struggle in 2012 while focusing on a major overhaul of the roster and heavy recruiting.
He admitted after the team's late April spring game that plans may be changing.
And why? Well, the Blazers are a much better team than even he thought they were when he accepted the job.
"I learned they have a great attitude and are really committed to doing things well," McGee said. "They want to do things the right way. They want to learn how to play the game at a certain level. I also learned we have a lot of good players on our team -- more than most people think we have."
And when McGee says "most people" he is including himself. He acknowledged that he wasn't sold on the Blazer's overall athleticism and roster talent when he took the job, but that changed after 15 practices in April.
"I was surprised," McGee said. "When you read about a team that hasn't had a winning season in while, you think you're going into a situation where you've got to go and recruit players, but once we got going, we've got a lot of really good players on our team."
One of those players McGee was most happy with this spring was quarterback Johnathan Perry. Perry is a scrambling quarterback who has to become more of a pocket passer than he may be accustomed to. McGee has no doubt that can happen and will happen in time for the Blazers to be competitive in the fall.
"He's a smart kid," McGee said of Perry. "He understands football and he understands concepts. He doesn't just try to memorize plays. ... I'm proud of him."
McGee made several position changes in spring, most of which were geared specifically at making every position faster. He moved corners to safety, wide receivers to cornerback and defensive ends to defensive tackle, among other experiments.
"I think our spring went well and we started to develop a plan to go about our business," McGee said. "I think we are capable of developing into a good team."
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