University of West Alabama football enters 2016 with one-more-win mentality

University of West Alabama football enters 2016 with one-more-win mentality
Rashaad Lee is one of a trio of running backs University of West Alabama Coach Brett Gilliland believes can make a difference in the Tigers' games this year. (UWA Athletics)

One more win might have done it, says West Alabama football coach Brett Gilliland, whose Tigers were 7-4 in 2015.

“I felt like we were one win out of the playoff picture,” Gilliland said. “If we could have gotten to 8-3, I feel we would have had a good shot to get in. Some good things happened last year and we’ve just got to build off of it, which I think we’re ready to do.”

Alabama NewsCenter is posing five questions to state college coaches as the 2016 football season draws near. Next up are Gilliland and his Tigers, who kick off their season at 6 p.m. CST on Thursday, Sept. 1, at North Greenville in Tigerville, S.C.

NC: What is the outlook for this season?

BG: We’re real excited. We don’t have a very old team. We don’t have very many seniors, but we have a lot of young guys who have played a lot of football for us. Then we have several guys that have moved in from junior college ranks and four-year schools that have transferred in that we really feel are going to help us a tremendous amount. We’re looking forward to what’s to come.

NC: What is your team’s strength?

BG: Our offensive skill positions – quarterback, receivers, running backs – we feel like we’ve really added some good players to give us some good depth on that side of the ball. Defensively up front, we have a lot of guys coming back. And there are other areas. Our offensive line; we had a lot of new faces up there. We feel really good about them. We just haven’t seen them in live game competition. And our linebackers and secondary – we’ve got a lot of new faces, several guys that we’re excited to see in a game.

NC: Who are your team’s standouts?

BG: Austin Grammer at the quarterback position – he transferred in from Middle Tennessee State (and) he’s from Tuscaloosa. We look for him to be a key factor for us. There are three running backs that we have that we feel good about – Rashaad Lee, Tyler Rogers and Lakenderic Thomas. We feel really good about our depth at the running back position. On our defensive line, we’ve got a lot of guys who’ve played a lot of snaps. We feel good about Jherron Jones at defensive end … Mike Williams on the interior of the defensive line … and Greg Thomas at defensive back, and (defensive back) Se’quan Steele.

NC: What game do your fans have circled on your schedule?

BG: The North Alabama game is always circled by our fans. This year it’s kind of interesting because it’s not the last game of the year. It’s actually our first home game, which will be the fourth week of the season. It’s our second conference game, our first home game and our in-state rivals.

NC: What is your lingering question?

BC: Just the cohesiveness of some of our units. We’ve got a lot of new guys up front on the offensive line. I feel good about them as players, but it’s seeing how they come together and play as a group. The linebacker corps is very similar to that. It would be the O-line and linebacker corps, how they play as a group and how they fit into our overall scheme.

Also read Alabama NewsCenter’s interviews with Miles College Coach Reginald Ruffin and University of North Alabama Coach Bobby Wallace.

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