Tuesday marked the first fully-padded practice for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions, but head coach Monte Coleman said he wasn’t happy about what he saw.
UAPB held practice at Watson Chapel High School Tuesday because their home field wasn’t in shape due to inclement weather.
According to Coleman, the Golden Lions performed under their capabilities.
“Not very good for us today,” Coleman said. “We didn’t practice well today. It may be because today is the first day in full pads. We’re hitting but not having full contact right now, and we’ll scrimmage this weekend either Friday or Saturday. Overall I didn’t think the tempo is what I want to see, matter of fact, I know it wasn’t what I wanted. I expected us to come over to the turf and move a little faster, and we didn’t do that. We didn’t win this day today.”
With it being so early in training camp, Coleman is still optimistic that they’ll begin to perform on a high level of consistently.
“This is the fifth day out, and we have a lot of young guys still,” Coleman said. “We have to get them acclimated to it, and I’m not upset with that. We just have to make sure we’re studying in the classroom and carrying it on to the field.”
From my perspective, the defense got the better of the offense at the start of practice. However, towards the end, the offense turned the tide and were able to reel off a few big plays.
“I’d like to see a little more of competition early on by both of them,” Coleman said of the offense and defense. “Today I think it was a draw, but of course I’m being biased, as I’m the head coach I root for all of them. You’re absolutely right in your observation with the defense starting fast, but they didn’t finish, and the offense picked it up towards the end. Overall we have to get in better football shape, and we have a ways to go.”
On a positive note, the offensive line seems to have made major strides since the end of last season. That was a unit that really hurt the Golden Lions in the past, but Coleman most certainly sees the progression.
“We’re better on both right now, the offensive line and defensive line,” Coleman said. “We have better size, we have better competition, and the guys are gelling. Like I said, this is only day five so I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bath water. They have to continue to improve, and they must come out with the right attitude.”
UAPB has plenty of time to continue to fine tune things, but Coleman doesn’t want to waste any of that time. He expects a better practice today.
“I think when the first game rolls around we’ll be a lot better,” Coleman said. “We have to get better, and that comes with time. I want to see us move around better. I don’t think all the guys are in football shape, but this is training camp … this is the time to get them in shape. The guys that were here this summer are running better. What I’m looking for tomorrow is a maximum effort from our guys in all three phases.”