Logging onto the Webb

Published 2:22 am Friday, October 23, 2009

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.— When is a quarterback not a quarterback? When he’s Joe Webb.

When it comes to the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers’ offense, Webb is more than just the team’s quarterback. He’s the team’s best running back and he’s one of the top rushers in the nation.

Webb’s running and throwing will be at the forefront of concern for the Marshall defense as the Thundering Herd hosts the Blazers at noon Saturday in a pivotal Conference USA game.

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“Joe Webb is an extremely good football player. He’s like a tailback, but he can also throw the ball, too,” said Marshall coach Mark Snyder.

“He looks like he’s gotten a little stronger from last year. And they have a good supporting cast around him.”

The survivor of Saturday’s game with a noon kickoff will move into a first place tie with East Carolina in the Conference USA East Division.

UAB is 2-4 overall but 2-1 in the C-USA East Division. Marshall is 4-3 and also 2-1in the C-USA East.

Webb is the top rushing quarterback in the country with 115.2 rushing and he’s also thrown for 122 yards a game. His rushing yardage ranks him 11th overall nationally among all rushers and ahead of Georgia Tech’s Josh Nesbitt.

Marshall counters with running back Darius Marshall who leads C-USA in rushing and ranks second nationally in yards per game at 136.50. He trails only Ryan Mathews of Fresno State at 162.33 yards per game.

Marshall leads the series 3-1 but the one loss was 23-21 last year on a missed chip shot field goal.

In last year’s game, Webb converted 4-of-10 conversions to help UAB to the win.

“He dropped the snap and ran through us. That continued the drive when it could have sealed the game for us,” said Snyder.

But Snyder cautioned that there’s more to UAB than just their quarterback.

“They have a much more team oriented concept now. (UAB coach) Neil (Callaway) has done a good job with that. That’s who Neil is. But I will tell you what, they are a much improved football team,” said Snyder.