Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer made his college coaching debut at UAB on Thursday night. And it couldn’t have gone any better, dominating North Carolina AT&T in a rout.
Dilfer has been around the game of football for quite some time. He played in the NFL from 1994-2007 and then served as an NFL analyst for ESPN from 2008-2017.
He also has coaching experience, just not at the college level prior to his college debut on Thursday. Dilfer had a four-year stint as the head coach of Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee.
Coaching at the collegiate level is an entirely different animal than coaching in high school, so there were certainly some questions as to how UAB would look under his watch.
Those questions were answered in the short term, as UAB would go on to beat North Carolina AT&T 35-6. UAB quarterback Jacob Zeno shined in Dilfer’s offense, throwing for 291 yards and three touchdowns while completing 38 out of his 41 pass attempts, which broke a school record for completions in a game.
🚨 𝐒𝐂𝐇𝐎𝐎𝐋 𝐑𝐄𝐂𝐎𝐑𝐃 𝐀𝐋𝐄𝐑𝐓 🚨
Jacob Zeno set a UAB school record with 38 completions tonight.
— UAB Football (@UAB_FB) September 1, 2023
Fans took notice of UAB’s impressive performance and praised Dilfer for how prepared he had his team for this game.
Trent Dilfer is UNDEFEATED at UAB.
The Blazers look to continue their streak next Saturday at Georgia Southern. pic.twitter.com/VCxD6EitVq
— BirminghamSports (@BirminghamSport) September 1, 2023
UAB Blazers 35-6 North Carolina A&T Aggies
Congrats on Trent Dilfer for capturing the first win of his head coaching career. pic.twitter.com/R2zs4Rmt2Y
— CFBLIVE247 (@CFBLive247_) September 1, 2023
— Jim Dunaway (@jimdunaway) September 1, 2023
The Trent Dilfer era begins with a win and an impressive performance by Jacob Zeno at QB, capped by this TD to Strap Hooks
Blazers gonna be FUN to watch this fall pic.twitter.com/pVBv3wFHfc
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) September 1, 2023
Hot take. Trent Dilfer will win more at UAB the next three years than Coach Prime at Colorado. https://t.co/gkJPoUMjCj
— Pat Trammell (@pbtide) September 1, 2023
Dilfer’s experience around the game of football is obviously vast, and it already seems like his presence has been a positive factor for this UAB team.
The former Super Bowl-winning quarterback spoke about his college coaching debut shortly after the game during an appearance on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, where he detailed that winning his first collegiate coaching game was a “surreal moment”.
“It was awesome, but I was really caught up with the emotion of the boys,” said Dilfer. “I was really excited about them having the opportunity to play their best football. For me, it was more surreal. I took it in, I was excited. But I was really focused on them and making sure we prepared them to play their best ball.”
Dilfer and UAB will look to build on this positive performance as the team prepares for their Week 2 game against Georgia Southern.