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September 24, 2009

Webb leads UAB offense into Kyle Field

Last Saturday, Texas A&M faced a dual-threat quarterback in Utah State junior Diondre Borel. Borel was able to get into open space to bide more time in order to hit open receivers in the passing game and also was lethal on the ground in the option game.

This Saturday when A&M faces UAB the Aggies will be facing another dual-threat quarterback in senior Joe Webb. Webb, however, isn't an option quarterback like Borel. Instead the UAB offense designs specific plays for Webb to run instead of a running back, which makes the offense basically run like a version of the wildcat.

Webb is also much bigger than Borel. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Webb is a prototypical quarterback, which is why many pundits believe him to be one of the top senior signal callers in the nation.

"I think he's one of those quarterbacks who is a true dual threat. He's one of those quarterbacks who can put the ball in the air and also might not be as shifty as the guy from Utah State but he can definitely run," said A&M sophomore safety Trent Hunter. "He's a lot bigger than the guy (from Utah State). The guy from Utah State kind of surprised me. He wasn't as big as he kind of looked on film, but this guy is pretty good size."

Webb leads UAB In both rushing and passing. On the ground he has 367 yards and three touchdowns on 57 carries, an average of 6.4 yards per carry and 122.3 per game. Webb's yards per game is No. 8 in the nation in rushing and the top spot held by a quarterback.

Through the air Webb has completed 57.1-percent of his passes for 561 yards and five touchdowns, but he's thrown five interceptions as well. Four of those interceptions came in a 35-33 loss to SMU in Birmingham.

"My concern is with us, mainly offensively," said UAB head coach Neil Callaway after a 27-14 loss to Troy on Saturday. "We weren't in synch. When we have people open, we don't hit them, and when we hit them, they don't catch it. Our offense has to execute better."

Webb appears in the top five in the UAB record books in seven categories - career rushing yards (fifth, 1,714), single-season rushing yards (second, 1,021), career rushing touchdowns (third, 16), single-season rushing touchdowns (first, 11), career passing yards (third, 4,033), single-season passing yards (fifth, 2,367) and career completion percentage (second, 58.5).

Webb will be a different beast than Borel for the Aggies to corral. A much bigger back, he is the true definition of a dual threat quarterback. He can break tackles, can get out of the pocket to create time for his receivers and is an accurate passer.

The biggest problem for Webb, however, is the players around him. Against Troy, Webb had just 114 yards passing. The problem wasn't as much with Webb as it was with dropped passes. Troy then corralled Webb in the backfield, limiting him to 76 yards on 19 carries.

If the Aggies hope to slow down UAB's potentially high-scoring offense they'll need to do it by pressuring Webb. Containing him in the run game and provided pressure in the pass game could derail UAB's offense.

One thing is for certain, however. On offense, UAB lives and dies with Webb.

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