After giving the players the day off, University of Central Arkansas football coach Clint Conque and his staff spent almost all of Monday in the film room.
They reviewed Saturday’s final scrimmage. They reviewed film from preseason camp. They started to evaluate the University of Hawaii, the first opponent on Sept. 4 in Honolulu.
Serious preparations for the opener begins today.
"We’re locked into game mode now," Conque said. "There’s a different sense of urgency when you enter game week. In preseason camp, the focus was entirely on us. Now, we preparing to play a game and the pace picks up."
Although he saw several positive things from the final scrimmage, Conque was upset with the number and nature of penalties.
"We had seven penalties before the ball was even snapped — six on offense and one on defense," he said. "That’s unacceptable."
He saw progress on offense.
"The 1’s offense, particularly when Robbie Park was the quarterback, moved the ball well and got a bit of a rhythm," Conque said. "There were no negative plays with them and several big plays."
Defensive back Anthony Gambles, defensive linemen Larry Hart, Taylor Scott and Uriah Perry were used sparingly or not used at all as a precautionary measure against injuries.
"The 1’s gave up a big run on a long-yardage situation, but that’s easily correctable," Conque said. "It’s a measure of getting the eyes in the right place. We were expecting pass and weren’t watching for the run."
He said the receivers and tight ends caught the ball well and had no dropped.
"The only drops we had were by the same back out of the backfield," he said.
He said Anthony Blackmon had a very good scrimmage at running back.
"He and (Terence) Bobo give us an explosive element and have really challenged themselves behind the two veterans (Brent Grimes and Leonard Ceaser)," Conque said. "Our defense for the most part did well on the goal line. They didn’t make thing easy."
Conque said that offensive tackle Matt Dickerson has been moved to guard but will rotate at tackle.
"This gives us the best chance to be successful and that’s what we are asking in our personnel evaluations," Conque said.
Quarterback Nathan Dick, who has been unable to throw for about two weeks because of a triceps injury, will be further evaluated in practices today and Wednesday, Conque said. He said it’s a possibility he might not be on the traveling squad to Hawaii, leaving the No. 2 quarterback in a state of flux.
"The 66 or 67 players we take to Hawaii are all going to have to be able to contribute if called upon," Conque said. "We’ve always had a rule that you’ve got to be able to practice to play. Nathan needs to practice because he really hasn’t had a lot of work."
Among the newcomers who have earned a spot on the two-deep or on special teams are wide receiver Dominque Croom, offensive linemen Dominque Allen and Nate Richards, defensive backs LaDarius Winston and Marcus Dumas and tight end Mason King.
He said the UCA coaches were "chasing ghosts" a bit in evaluating Hawaii from video on the last couple of years in preparation for this year’s Warriors.
"They return two starters on defense and six or seven on offense and their quarterback returns as well as their top two receivers and an All-American candidate offensive lineman," he said. "They started out in more of a run spread last year but at the end of the year seemed to get back to their roots as a true spread offense.
"But I’ve studied Notre Dame tape and Florida tape (former Hawaii opponents), and that’s a different experience for a UCA coach."