UCA Bears Offense Bounces Back in Scrimmage


CONWAY, Ark. -  The UCA Bears offense rebounded Saturday in the team’s second scrimmage of fall camp, according to head coach Steve Campbell.

“I thought the defense had the upper hand the first few times out this year,” said the first-year head coach, “but the offense really fought back and played well today.”

The first-team offense drove for a touchdown in just six plays on the opening drive of the scrimmage to set the tone. A 35-yard pass from junior Taylor Reed to senior Dezmin Lewis opened the scrimmage. In all, the Bears ran 80-plus plays in an hour.

“I’m pleased with the tempo. The guys came out and played fast,” said Campbell. “That’s something that we’ve been stressing. When we play fast, we have a chance to be pretty good. That’s our whole deal, to keep the tempo going. It’s important that you execute on first down so that you can play fast. Whenever you’re staying ahead of the chains on first down, it’s easier to play fast. 

“But you wind up second and 12, second and 9, second and 16, you have the tendency to slow down.”

Campbell said the offense had a smooth day overall.

“I was pleased with the execution,” he said. “I thought we made a lot of improvement from our first scrimmage. Everything was cleaner. We didn’t have the procedure penalties and the offsides. We had multiple penalties the first time. We did a better job this time, but we still had two holding calls that we need to get cleaned up.

“I was pleased with the overall execution offensively. We ran the ball. Our perimeter run game was better. We were able to get the ball on the outside and some of our skill guys made some plays on some sweeps.”

Campbell said the defense did step up and stop the offense on several occassions.

“I liked the fact that defensively, we stiffened in the red zone and forced some field goals. The converse of that is, offensively we need to go ahead and finish drives and score touchdowns.”

Campbell said another important statistics from the scrimmage was no turnovers.

“I was pleased with the way we protected the football,” he said. “More than anything else, early in the year, turnovers play such a big factor. They do all year long but they are magnified early in the year. So we need to protect the football.” 

The quarterback play from senior Ryan Howard, Reed and redshirt freshman Hayden Hildebrand drew Campbell’s praise, as did the kicking of junior Jace Denker.

“I’ve been real pleased with the quarterback play,” said Campbell. “Ryan’s been a little slowed down (by injury) but he bounced back and looked really good today. Taylor Reed has had an outstanding camp, and Hayden Hildebrand is getting better every day. So we have a good situation back there at quarterback right now.

“Kicking game wise, I was real pleased with Jace Denker. I thought he hit the ball really well on his field goals. He had one bounce off a bar or he would have been perfect on the day. Our punting game still needs to be cleaned up.”

The Bears finished the fall camp stage of practice Saturday and now begin preparations for opening foe Texas Tech (Aug. 30). Campbell said the Bears are at or at least pretty close to full strength.

“We’re in good shape injury wise,” he said. “We held out three offensive linemen today. Overall health-wise, we come out of camp through two weeks, thank goodness, with no surgeries needed. We’re pleased with that.

“Now it’s time to turn out attention to Texas Tech in two weeks.”

uca bears offense second scrimage