“The bye week is going to serve for us kind of a three-fold,” UAPB head coach Monte Coleman said. “For the guys who have little boo boo’s that are playing will have time to heal. The first phase is we want to have those guys not practice as much this week so that they can recoup. The second phase is we have to self-evaluate ourselves. The third thing is, we’re working on Southern some in our team periods. We will work up until Thursday, and I’ll give them Friday and Saturday off this week.”
Losing to Central State University (1-6, 0-3) 40-35 on homecoming was a disappointing experience for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (2-5, 1-2), according to Golden Lions Head Coach Monte Coleman. During the weekly media luncheon, it was an earnest Coleman who opened up with remarks expressing this sentiment.
Coleman began by recounting a story about a Doberman Pinscher puppy that he had when he played for the Washington Redskins. One evening when Coleman made it home, he found that the dog had ram-shackled the house, and he went to get his belt to whoop him. After a couple of strikes by Coleman, the dog ran and backed himself into a corner.
As the dog was backed into the corner, he let off a vicious growl that made Coleman think twice.
To sum it up, Coleman directly correlated the Golden Lions to the Doberman Pinscher. Even though their backs are against the wall and they may seem cornered in, they’re not about to lie down and get whooped again.
“It was a very, very disappointing loss,” Coleman said. “If we played that team five times, my belief, counting this last game, they would’ve won one out of the five. I truly believe that. We did a lot of good things in this particular ball game. Paris Mack returned kick offs for us, he caught touchdowns for us, and he returned punts for us. Kevin Agee played behind their line of scrimmage all evening long.”
Mack and Agee were the two Golden Lion players who attended this week’s luncheon, based off of their individual performances against Central State.
Although those two did a lot of good things along with plenty of others, the Golden Lions are still committing too many turnovers. It was a lost fumble by UAPB quarterback Le’Earl Patterson that was recovered on the Golden Lions’ 27 yard line that allowed CSU to score on a short field and go up 20-7.
“What we’re doing bad is turning the football over, that’s one of the things that’s hurting us,” Coleman said. “Right now we’re giving up 84 points off of turnovers, and that’s by far the worst in the SWAC. If we protect the football, our chances to win go up. If we protect the football and we tackle better, our chances go up tremendously.”
Coleman preaches week-in and week-out that they must start fast, whether it be on offense or defense. However, it was CSU who got off to the fast start in this one. Coleman referenced that he’ll continue to push starting fast because it’s critical to their success.
“That’s something that I’m going to continue to preach, we’ve got to start fast,” Coleman said. “Before we come out of every game, it’s not just me saying that, the players are saying it as well, because I’ve said it so much. For whatever reason, we didn’t start fast. I chose to go on defense first this particular game as a strategy. They moved the ball, and I didn’t anticipate that. That’s going to continue to be a tag line for our team, we’ve got to start fast.”
When asked if the slow start could be attributed to the Golden Lions underestimating Central State because they were a win-less Division II team, Coleman referenced that wasn’t the case at all.
“It wasn’t us underestimating them,” Coleman said. “We don’t underestimate any team no matter what division they’re in, they have good football players and we realize that. It didn’t matter if they hadn’t won a football game. It’s something about UAPB, it seems like teams rise to play better. For some odd reason they played their best game this past Saturday. By all means we didn’t underestimate Central State, we’re familiar with them and they came in and played a good game.”
CSU quarterback Trent Mays had success through the air, completing 20/36 passes for 334 yards and one touchdown. Mays also rushed the ball seven times for 19 yards and one touchdown. CSU accounted for four other rushing touchdowns with two from Terraris Saffold and two from Darius Meadors.
The run-pass-option offensive scheme has been a thorn in the Golden Lions’ side dating back to last season. Teams have had continued success running the RPO’s against UAPB, and it’s something that Coleman and his defensive staff are well aware of. However, it’s a tough offense to stop, and the fact that they’re dealing with multiple injuries in the secondary doesn’t make it any easier.
“Whoever invented the RPO as an offensive coordinator, he did a great job,” Coleman said.
“It holds the linebackers, and they hit the tight ends right behind them. The linebackers are taught when the offensive line is showing run, come up to play the run. When they come up, the quarterback is reading RPO. Now he’s reading the run and the QB pulls it and throws the football right behind where the linebacker should be. Now, say, for instance we stayed back to play the pass, then of course now the quarterback hands the ball off to the running back. It’s a read thing, and it’s a tough situation for the linebackers and safeties. One thing is showing you run, and if you play the run like you’re supposed to, they’re going to throw it. If you stay back and play pass, they’ll run it, so it’s a two-edge sword that you’re falling on and you have to do the best you can.”
P. Mack jump-started a 21-point second quarter for the Golden Lions that allowed them to take a 28-20 advantage into intermission. Coming out of half, neither team scored in the third quarter, but the Golden Lions had their chances, as they marched deep into CSU territory a couple of times. However, those drives ended with missed field goals by place kicker Jamie Gillan. Those missed kicks kept CSU in the game, and they gave them momentum to finish strong.
“Jamie is one of the hardest working guys we have on the football team as a kicker,” Coleman said. “As far as the two missed field goals, we pride ourselves on trying to get everything going in the third quarter. We got in field goal range, and to miss those it let them back into the football game. It was 28-20 at half, and if we get those or possibly even score it would’ve been a totally different situation for us. We let them back in it, and they were able to gain momentum to score some in the fourth quarter.”
Now, the Golden Lions are in the midst of their bye week, and according to Coleman it’ll serve well for them at this point for a number of reasons. After the bye week, the Golden Lions will compete in their first SWAC Western Division game of the season, playing Southern University in Little Rock.
“The bye week is going to serve for us kind of a three-fold,” Coleman said. “For the guys who have little boo boo’s that are playing will have time to heal. The first phase is we want to have those guys not practice as much this week so that they can recoup. The second phase is we have to self-evaluate ourselves. The third thing is, we’re working on Southern some in our team periods. We will work up until Thursday, and I’ll give them Friday and Saturday off this week.”
Their backs are against the wall, and that has become the rallying cry for the Golden Lions. Coleman feels that they’re as close as they can get to taking that next step and getting over the hump.
“We’re right on the cusp, we’re right on the edge, but we can’t fall over with a win,” Coleman said. “We’re right there. That is the most frustrating thing for me, the coaching staff, and for the team to see that we’re right there. It’s not even a big hump, but I truly believe if we take care of turnovers and tackle better it can be a whole different story. Our backs are against the wall, and we will show them our teeth to let them know not to mess with us.”
“The team is still hungry,” Mack said. “We just have to figure out a way to pull through.”
“We have a pretty strong defense, and we showed sparks by making plays,” Agee said. “We just have to finish. It’ll be 3rd and long, and we’ll let him out for a first down and they’ll end up scoring somehow. We’ve talked about everybody buying in, the young guys buying in. That’s the issue right now.”
UAPBLe’Earl Patterson 13/27, 333 yards, 2 touchdowns KeShawn Williams 21 carries, 97 yards, 1 touchdown Parris Mack 1 reception, 65 yards, 1 touchdown Tyrin Ralph 5 receptions, 89 yards Jamal Odom 10 tackles, 2 pass breakups
CSUTrent Mays 20/36, 334 yards, 1 touchdown Terraris Saffold 21 carries, 87 yards, 2 touchdowns Darius Meadors 4 carries, five yards, 2 touchdowns Darius Ford 8 receptions, 117 yards Martell Clark 2 receptions, 52 yards, 2 touchdowns Isaiah Smith 9 tackles, 1 pass breakup