As things have played out, the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions (2-5,1-2).
UAPB Head Coach Monte Coleman previously stated that they wanted the bye week to serve them threefold, and in this week’s luncheon he confirmed that it was accomplished. The Golden Lions wanted to rest up and let guys heal from injuries, working at tendencies and prep for the Southern University Jaguars (4-3, 2-1), who they’ll face at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock on Saturday.
“It was a good bye week for us, we got a chance to do some things that we needed to do,” Coleman said. “We had three things on the agenda going into the bye week. First thing was to let the guys get some rest. We’re getting a couple guys back, Micheal Lockwood and Dave White. Because of the bye week they were able to get the rest that they needed. We did work all the way up through Thursday, and I gave them Friday and Saturday off. One of the key things was making sure that we weren’t a big tendency team. We self-evaluated ourselves and practiced during the week to make sure that we’re doing the things we need to do to win the football game.”
Getting starting senior corner back Dave White should only improve UAPB’s secondary play. The UAPB defense has had their problems as a whole defending against the run-passoption attack of their opponents. Unfortunately for UAPB, Southern is one of the teams that has had success running the RPO’s.
Coleman recognizes that opposed to form tackling, sometimes his guys have been trying to knock players down with a big hit, and they’re just bouncing off and gaining extra yardage. “That’s a tough play,” Coleman said of the runpass-options. “You can run it or pass based off of what the defense does. It’s extremely hard on the defense. Alabama A&M does it well, Southern does it well, and there are other teams who do it well. As far as a defensive player, what he has to do is play his instincts, he can’t guess. When you guess, that’s when they can come back to bite you. All you have to do is be sound make sure you have great contain and you have to tackle. We haven’t tackled very well this year. We have to understand you can’t try to knock guys down anymore you have to actually hit and wrap up.”
UAPB red-shirt junior quarterback Le’Earl Patterson and junior kicker Jamie Gillan were the two asked by Coleman to accompany him for this week’s luncheon.
Coleman explained that Patterson is the leader on offense, and Gillan does his job precisely, plus some for the special teams unit. Patterson took over the starting job in week six when the Golden Lions took on Mississippi Valley.
The coaching staff makes it a point to mention that it’s not a knock on the previous starter Brandon Duncan, but they feel Patterson helps them more from an athletic standpoint. Patterson is living in the moment, and he said he’s honored to be a leader for UAPB.
“It’s really a blessing,” Patterson said. “To lead a collegiate team, it’s pretty hard, but with the hard work nothing is to difficult.”
Gillan is one of the most instrumental pieces of the Golden Lions’ football team due to the fact that he shoulders multiple duties. Gillan kicks fields goals, punts the ball, and he kicks the ball off.
“It’s good fun being apart of it,” Gillan said.
“Most college teams don’t have one person doing all three, but for me it’s just more opportunities to make plays for the team. I just have a good time with it and make sure I practice hard everyday and work on my craft so I can be the best at all three.”
The Golden Lions are back on track with their regularly scheduled meetings and practices now that the bye week has come and passed. On Saturday in Little Rock, the Golden Lions will get to prove their work when they face the Jaguars.