CONWAY, Ark. _ The University of Central Arkansas Bears will hold their first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday at First Security Field at Estes Stadium, and head coach Clint Conque will be looking for consistency. "It's going to be an important day to work and get better, but it's also an important evaluation day, said Conque. "We're less than three weeks from getting started, and decisions have to be made within the next 10 days as we start to narrow this down a little bit. "We want to see execution on both sides of the ball tomorrow. I felt like in Thursday's practice, the offense did make some progress, and that was encouraging to see. Again, the name of the game in camp is execution and consistency from day to day.
"We'd like to see wins on both sides of the ball tomorrow. We would like to see overall consistency and effort by our players.'
The Bears, who finished 9-3 last season and are picked No. 6 in the nation in the FCS Coaches' Preseason poll this year, will scrimmage beginning at 4 p.m. UCA, which had 12 players named to the preseason All-Southland Conference team, will be missing approximately 15 players for tomorrow's scrimmage, according to Conque.
"I think the defense is playing with an awful lot of confidence,' said Conque. "We have a lot of veterans, lot of depth and a lot of competition. You look at just the linebacker position for instance, we feel like we have 7-8 guys there that can play winning football for us.
"There is really a great deal of competition going on from day to day within the depth chart. And we'll need that depth. Just the overall defense is very opportunistic at this point, making plays and creating turnovers. They are playing very fast and very physical.'
Offensive competition is heated as well, particularly at wide receiver and running back. Conque said injuries, however, have hurt the consistency up front.
"We're a little disjointed right now on the offensive line. Hopefully over the next two or three days we can start building some consistency and continuity up there. There's quality competition at quarterback, at wide receiver and at running back.
"Running back is another key. I like what Willie Matthews is doing. Blake Veasley is doing some positive things. Both of those guys are returners from the spring. And Danzel Williams, the transfer from Oklahoma, flashes some, but it's just the little things, details, that we're trying to get him cleaned up on.' With all that being said, Conque is excited about the Bears' first of three scrimmages.
"It's a big day tomorrow, to go out and get our work in,' he said. "But also to gauge where we are, from a personnel standpoint, and where we really need to focus in the next week to solidify our football team. And a big aspect of that will be to stay healthy, and to get some of those guys back who won't scrimmage tomorrow.'
Steve East: Assistant AD/Media Relations