University of Central Arkansas football coach Clint Conque saw the positives in the Bears’ second scrimmage in spurts on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Some windy spurts.
"It was a windy day and I didn’t think our quarterbacks played with great urgency," Conque said after the 110-play scrimmage. "I think they let the wind affect them too much. But we’re gonna play in windy games, particularly if we go into November and December."
Wynrick Smothers was 18 of 28 for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Howard was 16 of 27 for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
Blake Veasley was the leading rusher with 68 yards on 11 carries. Willie Matthews was 13 for 34. Both backs caught passes for 28 yards. Dezmin Lewis, Blake Gardner, Desmond Smith and Courtney Whitehead all caught touchdown passes.
Several players were held out and had limited snaps because of injuries. Linebacker Zach Bush , defensive linemen Dawson Hadnot and wide receiver Clay Murphy missed the scrimmage because of injuries. Defensive back Marvin Mitchell and offensive lineman Alec Willis saw limited action.
"Our defense was more aggressive; our blitz packages were at times effective and at other times, not as effective in the run game," Conque said. "We didn’t tackle well, particularly early. We had problems with gap integrity and run pressure."
Wide receiver Courtney Whitehead had a big day, "and we designed it that way," Conque said.
Defensively, he praised linebacker Justin Heard and the first-team defensive front of Jonathan Woodard, Matt Hornbuckle, Derek Floyd and TJ Randall.
"We’re still a little bit of a big-play offense," Conque said. "It’s nice to have that ability. But we’ve got to have more consistency and be able to run a four-minute offense, both running and throwing, to help us close out a game. We did run the ball better."
He was not pleased with some fundamental errors.
"Our first units are doing a pretty good job," he said. "The main problem is with the backups and some of that is getting lined up correctly. It takes no talent to get lined up. There’s going to be a dropoff between the No. 1s and No. 2s. But we don’t want it to be much of a dropoff. Some of our backup players need to be more detailed in their learning, film study and fundamentals."
Eddie Camara booted a 40-yard field goal and was strong on kickoffs. Conque said Josh Harrison punted the ball well.
The Bears have two more practices left before their climactic Purple-Gray scrimmage at 6 p.m. Saturday.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at email@example.com or at 501-505-1235. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send sports news to firstname.lastname@example.org)