Photo Courtesy: UCA Athletics (Bill Patterson)
CONWAY, Ark. _ One practice does not make a successful fall camp, but University of Central Arkansas head coach Clint Conque said Thursday's workout did wonders for the Bears, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
"There was a lot of growth over the week in practice, but primarily on Thursday,' he said. "We narrowed down the repetitions to just our top 22 players on both sides of the football to work on continuity and chemistry. And it really showed up on the offensive side.
"There were a handful of big plays of 40-plus yards, several long touchdowns. We still have some things we need to clean up certainly, but our coaching staff was very encouraged by what we saw, and the potential that this offense has when we do things right. Again, it's all about consistency, but we were certainly pleased with what we saw Thursday.'
The Bears will host their second scrimmage of fall camp at 4 p.m. Saturday at First Security Field at Estes Stadium before breaking camp on Sunday in preparation for the season opener against Incarnate Word on Thursday, Aug. 29.
"I think what you'll see is the front-line guys in the heart of the scrimmage going primarily ones and twos,' said Conque. "And then we'll have a completely separate segment later for the newcomers and the threes and fours. Again, building on that theme of building some continuity, particularly with the quarterbacks and receivers, within the offensive line, establishing some running backs.
"And the same on defense, where communication is so important. I think practicing with the 40/25 (second) play clock has made practice so much more crisp and clean and efficient. It provides a sense of urgency about how we need to operate on both sides of the football.'
Conque said the coaching staff is pleased with several newcomers through the first two weeks of camp.
"We've had several newcomers stand out this week,' he said. "First and foremost, (quarterback) Taylor Reed has had three or four excellent practices since our last scrimmage. (Wide receiver) Jatavious Wilson (Bastrop, La.) is showing us he is getting game ready. Bryan Manley (Stephenville, Texas) and Gilberto Garcia (Morrilton), both true freshmen lineman, both have an excellent chance of being in the two-deep when we start the season.
"(Oklahoma transfer) Danzel Williams has really flashed, along with Kelton Warren (Arlington, Texas), at the running back position. And then on the defensive side, Jordan Toliver (Duncanville, Texas) and Tyrell Wellmaker (Lake Charles, La.) have really stepped up in practice and are going to have an opportunity to help our football team this year. A couple of other freshmen, Fernando Van Hook (Senatobia, Miss.) and Jose Moore (Southaven, Miss.), are right on the cusp.
"And yesterday we had some extended special teams sessions, and I was extremely pleased with Jonathan Harrison, our transfer punter.'
Steve East: Assistant AD/Media Relations