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UAB's Bill Clark set for first spring practice

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm •  Published: March 11, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — UAB's Bill Clark knows the challenges of entering spring with a team he's never coached on the practice field, much less in a game.

The Blazers' new coach holds his first spring practice on Wednesday, a year after successfully handling the same task some 80 miles away at Jacksonville State in his first time leading a college program.

"It's been a big help," Clark said on Tuesday. "That has maybe helped me sleep a little bit better, to know that we did go through this last year."

He's embracing the challenge of taking over a program that is coming off a 2-10 season under Garrick McGee and hasn't had a winning record since 2004. Clark also is trying to bring a demanding yet positive approach where players know they're expected to work hard "but we're going to treat you right."

That means finding a new starting quarterback to handle the switch to a fast-paced, spread offense. The former South Alabama defensive coordinator also must try to improve a defense that was one of the nation's worst last season, giving up 43.8 points and 497.8 yards per game.

Clark started the task without a fully healthy roster. He said nearly 30 players were limited by injuries when he took the job in January, but only three are completely out for the spring.

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