University of Central Arkansas head coach Steve Campbell is pleased with preseason camp through the first three days of practice, he said on Tuesday.
The Bears, who open the season in less than a month at Texas Tech, opened practice Saturday, will don full pads for the firstt time on Wednesday morning. The team will practice at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday to allow several of the players to serve as pallbearers at the funeral of UCA booster Jimmy Shumaker in Texarkana.
"The guys have worked hard and retained a lot of what we put in during the spring," said Campbell, who is in his first season with the Bears. "And there are a lot of young guys showing that they have a lot of promise and potential.
"Our older guys have done a good job of leading the younger guys,’ he added, "and setting a good tempo at practice. I’ve been very pleased so far with the effort and the leadership out of our older guys.’
Tempo is something the Bears will be working on continually with the shift in offensive philosophy that came with the new coaching staff.
"We’ve been playing fast,’ Campbell said. "We’re still not there yet, but for three days in, the tempo has been what you’d want it to be. It’s not where it needs to be, but we’re headed in the right direction."
Campbell singled out the play of the cornerbacks, led by senior Dominique Brown from Galveston, Texas, who is returning from a knee injury.
"Dominique Brown and Prince Ene have both done some good things. And some of the younger corners have really shown up. I’ve been pleased with the secondary. They look like they have matured a lot over the summer. We’re still going to be young back there, but I’ve seen a lot of good signs that they have a chance to develop into a really good group."
UCA’s first scrimmage is set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at First Security Field at Estes Stadium.