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UAB Head Coach Bill Clark: "Winning Conference USA is the Goal"

The Blazers first year HC talks to SB Nation about playing in SEC Country, his team's identity, nearly beating Mississippi State, and their goals as a program.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Residing in the biggest city in a state that lives for War Eagle/Roll Tide and all that brings, can put you in a position of relative anonymity.

UAB Head Coach Bill Clark understands this.

"I think it's challenging from the aspect that that we are not the biggest state in the country" Clark  explained. "You are dealing with X number of fans. And you've got two national programs. But at the same time we are in the deep south where football is very important. So we think there is a place for us."

He also understands that the best way to capture the imaginations in an SEC driven market is to win.

"It all comes down to success. I think it's critical for us to put a great product out there, something that fans want to see and be a part of."

So far he is off to a good start.

The team only won 2 games all of last year, and has already matched that win total this season, Clark's first at the helm in Birmingham.

Their lone loss this season was a highly competitive 47-34 contest against  a nationally ranked Mississippi State squad  that handled LSU this past weekend in Baton Rouge.

So how has he turned things around so fast?

Despite Clark's defensive background, the team's strength is offense.

The Blazers rank in the top 40 Nationally in Points (41.0 28th in the country), Passing Yards (291.7 30th), and Rushing (215.3 37th) and play with a high tempo attack.

But the defense hasn't been too bad either. surrendering just 24 points in wins over Troy and Alabama State.

Clark makes no bones about it,  the goals are a Conference USA Championship and a Bowl Game. The program has only been to one bowl in its' history, the Hawaii bowl in 2004 Vs Hawaii, a game they lost to the hosts 59-40.

"We don't want to be scared to set goals. How are you ever going to reach them if you don't put yourself out there?  We're working toward that (winning Conference USA).  That's our goal, if you fell short of that and still made a bowl it'd still be a solid season."

3 games in and it appears as though the Blazers are well on their way. If they keep this pace they just might make fans in Alabama think about three teams on the gridiron every fall.

UAB (2-1) opens its' conference slate this weekend Vs FIU (1-3) at Legion Field in Birmingham, 3:30 PM on AMSN.

Here's my full convo with Coach Clark:

Below, Coach Clark and some of the players also talk about the team's early season success: