The University of Central Arkansas Bears, naturally, are focused intensely on football right now.
But many are honing in on things more long-range — life after football.
Many players plan to go into the education field and eventually get into coaching. Several are seeking careers in physical therapy, a strong curriculum at the university. Some, like many college students, are still sorting things out. Several of the players have interesting future plans you might not expect.
Hee are a few:
Quarterback Wynrick Smothers is into broadcasting and wants to be a sports anchor.
"I’m one of those guys who likes attention," he said. "I like to be around people. Some people get nervous in front of a camera. I like it."
Offensive lineman Nate Richards is a history and education major and eventually wants to go to law school or teach in his home state of Texas.
Offensive lineman Brad Jakel wants to be a strength and conditioning coach and is soaking up from first-hand experience everything UCA’s Henry Briscoe can impart.
Offensive lineman Austin Emerson is a social studies major with an emphasis on history who was inspited to that track in high school, adding, "I want to be a good teacher and good coach. A high school coach I had was a history teacher and really good teacher and really good coach. I always wanted to emulate him."
Tight end Brennan Rushing was drawn suddenly into an interest in physical therapy in high school.
"We did program, kind of competition nationally, and I had to wrap ankles and I liked that," Rushing said. "I like helping people out."
He also has worked on a Habitat house and enjoys participating in the Bears’ program in reading to children.
Wide receiver Dominique Croom, whom the Bears hope rings up big numbers this season, likes numbers and is seeking an accounting degree.
Offensive lineman Kit Coleman plans to finish school in December with a business management degree.
Defensive end Markell Carter has a philosophical reason for wanting to become a high school counselor.
"There was that guy at my high school who led me the right way and kept me from temptation," he said. "I want to be that for somebody else. I want to give back what was given to me. I feel high school can be a real confusing time for young man. You need somebody who will be there every day who can lead you the right way."
Linebacker Justin Heard is into criminal justice in a sociology program and has been influenced toward that by television.
"I like CSI and all that stuff," he said.
Linebacker Frank Newsome wants to go into the health service field.
"I’ve always been health person," he said. "Before college, I didn’t know what dietics was but knew that was what I wanted to do. I wanted something to do with food and human body."
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or email@example.com)