UPDATE here and more updates below:
ESPN is reporting eight Golden Lions’ football players are ineligible for today’s game in Jonesboro, seven of whom are starters.
You can call it an in-state rivalry, something that is kinda foreign to us in Arkansas, but in reality it is the Coleman Bowl.
One of the many sidebars of Saturday’s Red Wolves-Golden Lions game in Jonesboro is the family feud between a father and his son.
It does not happen often. And off-hand, and after checking around, we don’t know if it has ever happen on the collegiate level in Arkansas.
In one corner, and standing on the west sideline, we have A-State junior linebacker Kyle Coleman. On the opposite side, UAPB head football coach Monte Coleman.
“Not many people get the opportunity to play against their father’s team,” Kyle told a media gathering after practice this week.
Kyle is starting at linebacker for the Red Wolves, a move he made during the spring from safety, which was a position he tried after being recruited as a wide receiver.
Having grown from 210 pounds to 230 since arriving at ASU he said, “I even had some of my teammates tell me that I was going to wind up at linebacker.”
Monte Coleman, one of the best football players this state ever produced, played 15 years in the National Football League. He played linebacker, a position he moved to for his senior season at the University of Central Arkansas.
“We haven’t talked to much about it,” the son said. “But he has told me some things about playing linebacker.”
Caught in the middle of this fray is mom and wife Yvette Coleman.
“She said she is going to be pulling for me,” Kyle said. “But I don’t know about that. She did say she was going to get a shirt with both schools on it.”
We will find out Saturday night, and a big crowd is expected.
UPDATE: “It’s just a bad time right now in Golden Lion Nation”
We’re tracking this newest development concerning a report from the Pine Bluff Commercial, but a “coach’s nightmare” two days before kicking off the football season against a larger, in-state rival doesn’t sound reassuring. Here are excerpts from the Commercial post:
UAPB coach Monte Coleman didn’t hide that fact that something isn’t right. He just wouldn’t elaborate on it.
“We’ve got some issues with certain things, but it’s one of these coach’s nightmares that I’m going through right now,” he carefully said after Thursday’s practice.
“It’s going to take something to get us all on the field, but we’re working through it,” he continued.
Asked to elaborate on the nightmare, the coach said: “I really don’t want to right now. I think it will be obvious come game time. You and I will talk about it then, but it’s just a bad time right now in Golden Lion Nation.”
The Pine Bluff Commercial reported Friday UAPB faces eligibility issues:
He said his team is dealing with eligibility issues. But he maintained a strong sense of optimism as well as his Golden Lions will meet the Red Wolves for the first time ever.
“We’re fine as a football team,” Coleman said. “We’re ready to go play a football game. I see it in my guys’ eyes.
“It will be without some of our guys, but I feel confident in who we will play with and that we will play for 60 minutes.”
Coleman declined to say which or how many players were affected by the eligibility issues, but they are apparently the reason for what he called after Thursday’s practice “a bad time in Golden Lion Nation.”
We will continue to follow this development and update here as they become available.
PREDICTION: Some of you might have noticed on this site the 42-24 ASU victory I predicted. I have already caught grief from a couple of ASU followers.
I do think the Red Wolves will win, and I don’t think Bryan Harsin will run up the score on the father of his starting linebacker if given the chance.
UAPB is solid, and could well win another SWAC title, but since Steve Roberts took over the program in 2001, ASU no longer loses to lower division teams. I don’t see that changing.
The Golden Lions have lost a key defender at each level — line, linebacker and safety — and offense just might be the Red Wolves’ strength right now. My expectation is A-State runs the ball and passes when it is needed and no big secrets are revealed.