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Arkansas vs UAB Preview: Q&A with Tyler Cantrell of Underdog Dynasty

Tyler Cantrell, who covers UAB for Underdog Dynasty, was kind enough to answer our questions about the Blazers this week.

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AF: Originally, this game was suppose to be a homecoming of sorts for Garrick McGee. Now that he has resold his soul back to the devil at Louisville, is there still an emotional connection there for UAB fans for this game, or did that leave with McGee's departure?

TC: There is absolutely no connection to Garrick McGee at all left at UAB. You'd be hard pressed to find any players, athletic personnel, or anyone in the Birmingham media that didn't celebrate the day he left. McGee had done little to sell the program since before his first season and had few allies within UAB during his time there..

AF: How much credit does McGee deserve for the improvement this season. He has two recruiting classes on campus now. Or do you give more credit to the culture change brought in by Bill Clark?

I think 100% of the credit goes to Bill Clark and his staff for the outlook they have brought to the program. This staff is shown itself to be capable of making key in-game adjustments that can swing games. Many of the key contributing players were recruits of former coach Neil Callaway (JJ Nelson, Diaheem Watkins, Jake Ganus, Ty Long, Hunter Mullins, DJ Vinson) so many feel Callaway deserves more credit than McGee in the turn around. Unlike McGee, Callaway left the program better than he found it. A few key players that McGee recruited were actually offered the opportunity to transfer to Louisville but Jordan Howard and Jamari Staples both choose to stay in Birmingham.

AF: Okay enough questions about our ex-girlfriend's best friend. What has been the biggest key UAB's turnaround and their 4-3 record?

TC: With a few jucos mixed in these are essentially the same players from last year. The key to me is that this team believes in Bill Clark and he believes in them. Second key is the ability to make key adjustments in games. That was something that had not been happening in recent years.

AF: I've heard from UAB people that since UAB is apart of the University of Alabama system, UAB is constantly treated like a step child to Alabama. If that is true, can you describe what that is like? Does it make wins that much sweeter knowing that you are over coming the man keeping you down?

TC: There seems to be key people on the Alabama system BOT that would like to see UAB not succeed. In the past they have not let UAB hire certain coaches they wanted or build a much needed on-campus stadium. Bill Clark has proven UAB can win now with the right person in charge. These wins and increased attendance will most likely spur much needed changes around the UAB program.

AF: Who are two guys (one offensive, one defensive) that Arkansas fans will remember after the game?

TC: On defense I'd have to say Diaheem Watkins and Jake Ganus. Watkins is UAB's best pass rusher and is finally fully healthy for his senior season. Ganus is the Blazers leading tackler and seems to be in on most plays. On offense I'd say tight end Kennard Bachman and running back Jordan Howard. Bachman will most likely be playing on Sundays and is a chain mover that sheds tackers with ease. Howard has been the main back in a rushing attach (along with DJ Vinson) that has produced more rushing TD's in 6 games than they did the entire 2013 season.

AF: Prediction?

I think UAB makes some plays and keeps this game close. I'm picking the Razorbacks to win 45-27.