UWA Head Coach Brett Gilliland Previews Division II Playoffs [Audio]
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As college football spectators across the state of Alabama wait to see what that last two weeks of the regular season has in store for Alabama and Auburn, one NCAA Division II squad less than an hour from Tuscaloosa is gearing up for their run in the postseason.
The University of West Alabama Tigers concluded the regular season Saturday with a 29-26 victory over North Greenville. The Tigers enter the Division II Playoffs with a 9-2 record, a Gulf South Conference title, a number one seed in Division II’s Super Region Two along with a first round bye.
UWA will face the winner of Bowie State and Delta State November 25 in Livingston.
During Tuesday’s edition of The Gary Harris Show, UWA head coach Brett Gilliland looked back at his team’s success over the course of the regular season and previewed their first playoff appearance since 2012.
Gilliland credited his coaches and players for the program’s success under his watch.
“Our coaching staff and players have done a tremendous job this year, but really just going back through the years as we’ve progressed a little bit each year to get to where we are now and to be outright conference champs is special.” Gilliland said.
He described the excitement being felt in the town of Livingston and the UWA community over the success of the football team.
“It’s been buzzing. As we started out this season, everyone kind of thought we had a chance to be good so everyone in the community was excited about it. ” Gilliland said.
Just as the Southeastern Conference established a rich tradition of football excellence in the FBS, schools like North Alabama, Valdosta State, Delta State and West Alabama helped to make the Gulf South Conference as one of the top football leagues in Division II.
This season, UWA, West Georgia, West Florida and Delta State made the Division II Playoffs out of the Gulf South Conference. UWA’s head coach discussed how playing in the GSC prepares his team for postseason play.
“We always feel like whoever comes out of this league should have a shot for that because of how strong the league is.” Gilliland said. “There’s four of us, four GSC teams in the playoffs, so it’s a good chance we’ll have to wade back through the league as we go through the playoff stretch.”
After playing 11 consecutive weeks, the Tigers will enjoy a first round bye in the playoffs. Gilliland relayed how big the bye week is for his squad.
“I think it’s a really big deal. In Division II, we don’t get an off week. We play 11 straight weeks.” Gilliland said. “It’s 11 straight weeks of mental exhaustion for our guys.”
UWA’s former head coach also talked about his expectations before the season, UWA’s roster of former players in the NFL and being a part of the UWA family as a former quarterback.
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