CB Carlos Hendricks

2002 Statistics

Coach: Watson Brown
42-47, 8 years
2002 Record: 5-7
at Florida LOST 3-51
at Louis-Lafayette LOST 0-34
at Tulane LOST 14-35
at Army WON 29-26
at Louisville LOST 21-41
at Cincinnati LOST 23-31

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

After recording winning seasons in 2000 and 2001, the UAB Blazers took a slight step backwards in 2002. However, it would've been hard to convince Coach Watson Brown of that as the Blazers went into the fourth quarter of their final game of 2002 with a chance to secure the program's first bowl bid.

Despite a couple of bad losses early in the season - which was worse, the pummeling at Florida or the inexplicable shutout at Louisiana-Lafayette? - a young UAB squad hit its stride midway through the season to become a factor in the Conference USA race. The Blazers closed the season with road losses to Louisville and Cincinnati, but still finished in the upper half of Conference USA - a place it has finished every season since joining C-USA in 1999 - in what was clearly a rebuilding year. Brown and Blazer fans are optimistic about the future, considering there are only eight seniors on the 2003 roster and a depth chart loaded with experienced, promising players.

It starts at quarterback, where sophomore Darrell Hackney has a chance to do some special things in an offense designed to take advantage of his arm. Brown compares Hackney to former East Carolina quarterback David Garrard - a big, strong-armed quarterback who also is mobile and tough to bring down. Garrard now is a backup in the NFL.

UAB has experience at every position on offense, and the good news is that virtually the entire cast will return for an encore in 2004. Brown also is bringing in the best recruiting class at UAB since the program joined Division I-A in 1996.

The defense will have a new look. The Blazers hired defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt away from rival Troy State after Bolt helped the Trojans field a top-5 defense. Gone is the 4-2-5 alignment in favor of a more traditional 4-3. UAB has good linebackers and a solid cast of linemen, although size and depth remain spotty after a complete overhaul of personnel in 2002. Defensively, Brown focuses on speed. Brown, however, believes the talent is there for UAB to soon field a national-caliber defense as it did in 2001 when the Blazers led the nation in rushing defense.

UAB figures to be a darkhorse team in the C-USA race. The Blazers get an early showcase with an ESPN home game against Southern Miss, and later have a road trip to TCU. Out of conference, UAB plays a road game against Baylor of the Big 12, road games against SEC teams South Carolina and Georgia and a home game against Troy State. A 2-2 mark in those games might go a long way toward bowl-eligibility.

Traditionally, this team has been ranked near the bottom in most preseason polls and this year is no exception. Traditionally, those preseason polls are wrong as UAB has second-, fourth-, second- and fifth-place finishes over the past four years. Odds are UAB is again being overlooked and underrated. With an improved record this year and most of the cast back again for another run in 2004, this likely will be the last year that happens for a while.

Projected 2003 record: 7-5
WR Roddy White
QB - 3 DL - 2
RB - 2.5 LB - 3
WR - 3.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Darrell Hackney, 293-149-7, 1977 yds., 14 TD

Rushing: Dan Burks, 124 att., 554 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: Roddy White, 39 rec., 580 yds., 3 TD

Scoring: Nick Hayes, 17-22 FG, 29-29 PAT, 80 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Nick Hayes, 17-22 FG, 29-29 PAT, 80 pts.

Tackles: Zac Woodfin, 120 tot., 74 solo

Sacks: Zac Woodfin, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Carlos Hendricks, 3 for 17 yds.

Kickoff returns: Jason Southall, 32 ret., 24.0 avg.

Punt returns: Dan Burks, 2 ret., 0.5 avg.


OFFENSE: Kirk Tuck-C, Willie Quinnie-FL, Thomas Cox-QB, T.J. Simmons-WR
DEFENSE: Hassan McKeithan-DE, James Malone-DT, Deijon Hart-DE, Chris Brown-CB, Sentell Winston-DB, Ross Stewart-P

written by Tim Stephens

UAB Coach Watson Brown finally has the quarterback and receivers to get away from the option and throw the ball down the field.

Sophomore Darrell Hackney will direct a wide-open attack that features plenty of talented receivers. Hackney took over as the starter in the fifth game of 2002, and all he did was complete 50.9% completion for 14 TDs and only seven interceptions. Hackney can throw the long ball with deadly accuracy and also is effective with intermediate routes. UAB fans are salivating at the idea of Hackney playing three more years. If Hackney can stay healthy, he'll be one of the most productive sophomore QBs in the nation. Keeping him healthy is a must - Hackney underwent off-season surgery on both knees and there is no experience behind him. UAB could be forced to count on true freshman Jake Tompkins (46 TDs as a HS senior) if Hackney goes down. Tompkins was generally regarded as the No. 2 quarterback prospect in Alabama behind LSU signee Jamarcus Russell and eventually could challenge Hackney for the starting job.

UAB's starting backfield returns. After injuries slowed Kendal Gibson and Theron Dudley in 2002, true freshman Dan Burks got plenty of playing time - he averaged 64 yards per game over the final eight games. Burks possesses an excellent spin move and runs tough. He's more of a grinder than a scatback, though, and UAB could use more speed from its running backs. Gibson, a junior, is a big back (5-11, 240) who has surprising elusiveness, but he, too, is not going to run away from anybody. Injuries meant Dudley wasn't much of a factor in 2002, and he could lose some of his playing time to speedy redshirt freshman Bo Moncur, who excites the coaches with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and his burst through the line on draw plays.

Hackney's top targets will be junior Roddy White and sophomore Lance Rhodes, who was spectacular in the spring game after transferring from Arizona State. Rhodes doesn't look the part, but he will be one of the faster receivers in C-USA. Big junior Chico Cleveland causes matchup problems for linebackers and DBs, and sophomore Jhun Cook will get a chance for more playing time after filling in as a freshman. Cook is a physical receiver who can make tough catches over the middle. UAB will miss the speed and big-play capability of departed senior Willie Quinnie, but probably won't miss his penchant for drops and fumbles.

Tight end could become a bigger factor as Brown opens up the playbook; UAB has three quality tight ends in senior Sam Dudley and sophomores Cedric Hampton and Lynorse Garrett. Dudley and Hampton are strong blockers while Garrett is the best pass-catcher of the three.

This should be the best offensive line UAB has ever fielded. Four starters are back, including a couple with serious potential. Guards Andy Galloway and Larry Coachman are as good as any C-USA tandem. Galloway is an excellent all-around lineman, while Coachman is a powerful run-blocker that no defender - especially a defensive back, linebacker or rush-end - would enjoy running into on sweeps and/or trap plays. Wilbert Hamilton and Artavious Williams return at tackle, but they need to be more consistent and cut down on their illegal procedure and holding penalties. Sophomore Matt Batusic will get the first shot at center, but will be pushed by JUCO transfer Rodney Outlaw. Batusic has gained almost 50 pounds since arriving at UAB and could be a future performer. UAB is counting on big things from tackle Barker White, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2002 opener. White was UAB's most improved lineman going into fall practice.


QB Darrell Hackney


Returning Starters in bold
QB Darrell Hackney-So Curtis Falany-Fr
FB Kendal Gibson-Jr Theron Dudley-Jr
RB Dan Burks-So Bo Moncur-Fr
WR Roddy White-Jr Lance Rhodes-So
WR Chico Cleveland-Jr Jhun Cook-So
TE Sam Dudley-Jr Cedric Hampton-So
OT Wilbert Hamilton-Sr Emilio Thompson-So
OG Andy Galloway-Jr Anthony Larry-So
C Matt Batusic-So Rodney Outlaw-Jr
OG Larry Coachman-Sr Alan Kinner-So
OT Artavious Williams-Sr Barker White-Jr
K Nick Hayes-Jr Brent Dye-Fr



written by Tim Stephens

UAB's defense remains young, but should be much improved. New defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt brings a 4-3 alignment that puts emphasis on linebackers, a UAB strength. Still, it's a long way from the 2001 "Steel Shield" unit that led the nation in rushing defense and sent four defensive linemen to NFL camps (including high draft picks Bryan Thomas and Eddie Freeman). UAB allowed 154 yards rushing per game in 2002, a 100-yard increase from 2001. Things will be better in 2003.

The best lineman is senior Shamar Abrams, a 330-pounder who is quick and agile. Other linemen with experience include ends Anthony Garrett, Chris Mason, Sam Kendrick and Shane Pearson. UAB often converts high school tight ends and linebackers into defensive linemen, so many of them are smallish (but quick) with instincts QBs don't often see. That means much is expected of big redshirt freshman Quinton Harris at tackle. Harris, if he can keep his weight under control, has the potential to be an important player in their scheme(s). He's surprisingly quick for his size and has a good vertical leap.

At linebacker, sophomore Zac Woodfin earned second-team all-conference honors in 2002 after making 120 tackles. Woodfin is a throwback-type player, relentless and smart. He rarely gets caught out of position. He's tough against the run, and seemed to improve in pass coverage as the 2002 season progressed. Gaylon Black, Nigel Eldridge, Darrius Taylor and DeMarcus Rogers all have experience, too. Black was on his way to a monster season until suffering a season-ending knee injury in the second game. Kyle Bissinger, a former quarterback, has moved to linebacker as well and should figure into the rotation. UAB's linebackers have outstanding speed and pursue the ball well. More depth is needed, though.

UAB's secondary can't help but be better in 2003. With no help from a pass rush, an inexperienced Blazers secondary was torched at times in 2002. UAB was especially vulnerable on third downs, allowing long conversions that let a couple of potential upsets (Southern Miss, Pittsburgh) get away. All the starters return. Safeties Thurman Pearson and Julius Wainwright are among the best in C-USA. Pearson is a good tackler and excellent in run support. Wainwright was thrown into the rotation as a freshman last year. He experienced his growing pains, but by the end of the year was playing as well as any young defensive back in C-USA. Cornerbacks Dio Hill and Carlos Hendricks are solid, too, but they both gave up too many big plays in 2002. They especially were vulnerable to over-the-top throws to big receivers and were exposed for their inexperience early in the season by Florida's Taylor Jacobs and Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald (to be fair, both lit up most who covered them). By the end of the season, Hill and Hendricks seemed more comfortable. Senior Warren Butler and junior Justin Whitmore'll push them. Hill has pro potential if he becomes more consistent.


LB Zac Woodfin


Returning Starters in bold
DE Anthony Garrett-So Sam Kendrick-So
DT Sam Williamson-So Quinton Harris-Fr
NT Shamar Abrams-Jr Tony Williams-So
DE Chris Mason-So Shane Pearson-Sr
SLB Gaylon Black-Jr Kyle Bissinger-Fr
MLB Nigel Eldridge-Jr DeMarcus Rodgers-Jr
WLB Zac Woodfin-Jr Darrius Taylor-So
CB Dio Hill-Jr Warren Butler-Sr
CB Carlos Hendricks-Jr Thomas Arnold-So
SS Thurman Pearson-Sr Brandon Register-Fr
FS Julius Wainwright-So Justin Whitmore-Jr
P Parker Mullins-Fr Brent Dye-Fr




UAB's special teams have been solid and at times spectacular under Brown. The Blazers traditionally have ranked among the national leaders in blocked kicks, borrowing from Virginia Tech the dangerous philosophy of playing front-line starters on kicking teams.

Junior PK Nick Haynes was a semifinalist for the Groza Award and likely will be again in 2003. He connected on his first 14 FGAs in 2002, finishing 17-of-22. He's never missed an extra-point attempt at UAB and has been unbelievably reliable - 9-for-9 - on field-goal attempts in the 40-yard range.

Parker Mullins and Brett Dye are the leading candidates to replace departed punter Ross Stewart, who was one of C-USA's best. Mullins is likely to win the job, but it's doubtful he'll be better than Stewart was.

Jason Southall ranked fourth in C-USA in kickoff returns in 2002. He's always a threat to break a long one and usually sets the Blazers up beyond their 20-yard line. Rhodes and Burks also return kicks, with the UAB coaches especially excited to see if Rhodes can make an impact in the punting game.