Summer session one is currently underway at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and the Golden Lions football team is taking full advantage of their time on campus. During session one, the Golden Lions have scheduled strength and conditioning workouts three times a week. However, players are encouraged to put in extra work. UAPB head coach Monte Coleman is pleased with the atmosphere around the program.
Not even half of the team is on campus during this first session, but there are enough of them there to keep the excitement around the program going. In session two, things will pick up, and the expected amount of players on campus will triple.
"Right now we have 20 guys working extremely hard in the first session," Coleman said. "Most of our guys will come back in the second session in July, and we'll have about 60 in total."
Most of these workouts aren't mandatory, but they're highly beneficial in a program's success rate, coaches agree.
"Summer strength and conditioning is important to any program," Coleman said. "It's one thing to work out when asked, but these guys are doing a lot on their own. A lot of the schools around the country have very good summer programs, and it shows in the fall."
The Golden Lions established a new mentality around the program during the winter and the spring, and it's had a positive effect on the summer. Just being around the facilities, one can feel the excitement in the air. The coaching staff and players want to get UAPB football back on track, and according to Coleman, they're well on their way.
"I'm excited just like they are," Coleman said. "We had a great winter and spring, and they gave me what I was asking for. They played with passion, they flew around, and they had fun. All that is carrying over right now, and we're witnessing it. We have to keep that enthusiasm going in order to steadily improve. We let some guys go that weren't on board with us, and overall it's a different attitude within the team. Right now it actually reminds me of 2012. We're ready to get back on the winning track. "
In 2012, the Golden Lions won the SWAC championship.
"We have organized weight lifting three days a week, but what's important is what they do on their own time," Coleman said. "In order to go to the next level, we can't get out-worked. Our goal for these summer workouts is to get bigger faster and stronger."
"When they guys arrive for the second session, I want them to come in and do their job," Coleman said. "The times we have scheduled on the chalk board are great, but it'll take more than that to bond as a team. We can't be successful if we don't gel as a football team."
Summer session one will wrap up on July 7, and session two will begin on July 10 and end on Aug. 11.