The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff got back onto the football field for the first practice of fall camp for 2019 Friday afternoon. The Golden Lions went through numerous individual and team drills over a two-hour time period, ending the practice with offense versus defense skeleton drills.
UAPB head football coach Cedric Thomas noted that the practice was lightyears ahead of the first practice of 2018.
“It is like having a vehicle that is used then driving it and being satisfied because it is all you have got, then you save your money and come off of the lot in something brand new," he said.
"That is what the first day was like, it was like having something brand new. When you have 35 kids that lettered and you have them here the whole summer, you have that. Thanks to the administration and the A.D. for allowing me to get these young brothers in here 30 days before. So it is like driving a brand new car compared to a used car.”
Thomas said he saw several things that he liked on day one.
“One of the positives was the conditioning,” he said. “We had a lot of guys here during the summer, so we was ahead from a conditioning standpoint. Special teams is a unit that a lot of people don’t put a lot of emphasis on, but I thought the guys were really locked in and focused on the steps they have to take.”
Despite the positives of day one, there are still some things Thomas saw that his team will have to work on.
“We are in better condition, but we petered out in the end,” Thomas said. “We have to be able to get through all of the offensive and defensive phases, but I did think it was a good start. If we start there and continue to build on it we will be better. I am disappointed in the execution on offense. We should be able to score on every snap, and that is what is expected, but I know the offensive staff will get it going. Defensively we have to get them to understand the communication from the sideline to the field. If we can do that we have a chance to be really special.”
Running back Taeyler Porter earned preseason All-SWAC honors and is expected to be a critical piece to the Golden Lion offense. He said that the new off-season workouts will help to improve the team.
“I feel like we did a good job. Everybody has gotten faster and stronger,” Porter said. “I feel like it is going to have us better prepared for the 2019 season.”
Porter said he thought the team performed well on day one of fall camp.
“I feel like we competed,” Porter said. “I feel like we are only going to get better every day.”
Thomas also noted that he plans to push the tempo offensively in 2019.
“I want warp speed,” he said. “I want the referee to stand over the ball and tell us we are going too fast. I want it to be extraordinary. If we can get it down during the course of a practice, then it will be easier during a game. We want to keep opposing defenses on their toes because it is fast, fast, fast, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The Golden Lions will return to the practice field at 11 a.m. Saturday before taking Sunday off. The Golden Lions will then practice Aug. 5-9 at 2 p.m.