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UAB Holds First Team Meeting and Workout

The UAB Blazers had their first team meeting on Sunday and first conditioning workout on Monday. Bill Clark spoke on this topic and more in his weekly segment on The Opening Drive with WJOX-FM in Birmingham.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

A football team has assembled once again on the Southside of Birmingham.

UAB held its first organized team meeting of the season on Sunday, followed by a conditioning workout on Monday morning.

In head coach Bill Clark's weekly segment on Birmingham's WJOX-FM Opening Drive radio show, he estimated that about 32 players were with the team.

"It was the (meeting) you would have before camp where you say, 'Alright, school starts tomorrow,'" Clark told WJOX-FM. "It's crazy because it's so different than what we would normally do."

With no football this season, Clark said that his team should be the "best trained, strongest, fastest team in the country" since there are no games to be played in the fall.

The Blazers obviously do not have a full roster, and have a large gap to fill to reach the NCAA's scholarship limit of 85. Clark said of the players around, many of them are not yet on scholarship.

"We don't have a lot of scholarship players right now," he said. "A lot of them are walk-ons."

Walk-ons tend to be forgotten or deemed not as important to a football program, as many are not as talented or athletic as the scholarship players. UAB chooses not to treat its walk-ons in the same light.

"I want to treat (walk-ons) like scholarship players because they can become scholarship players," Clark said. "They create a really good team and a really good environment."

As Clark looks to rebuild his roster, he has a plan to bolster the program's numbers. UAB is looking to bring in around 14 players during the Christmas break, sign a full class of 25 student-athletes on National Signing Day in February, and sign approximately 10 more during the summer 2016 time period.

Signing such a large number of players in a short period is a unique deal in college football, but Clark has several advantages as he attacks the situation. One he harped on Monday morning was the success the Blazers have had in the past in bringing top talent to Birmingham.

"What we're using as a template (for recruits) is we want guys that can play at the highest level," he said.

Exhibit A is not hard to find. The 2015 NFL Draft featured former Blazers such as J.J. Nelson (Arizona Cardinals) and Kennard Backman (Green Bay Packers). Undrafted rookies such as Ty Long and Diaheem Watkins are also attempting to make an NFL roster this year.

"We're sitting here with five guys in NFL camp right now that are doing very well," Clark said. "It's a fact that we can get those kind of guys in here and develop them and give them a chance to play at the next level. Our guys are seeing that."

Players took their excitement to social media, as the UAB football team is a tangible entity once again.