The University of Central Arkansas Bears were sharper on defense in their second practice of the fall on a hot Tuesday afternoon, according to head coach Clint Conque.
“I thought defensively we ran around and rallied pretty good today,’ said Conque. “I thought the effort there was better, some of the adjustments and different alignments we put in were better. I thought the two-deep handled all the pretty well."
Conque, however, was not as happy with the Bears’ offense in their second outing.
“I was not as pleased with the execution, the details and the focus we had on offense today,’ he said. “We have a lot of talent, a lot of speed and some length over there at the skill positions, but our detail is not where it needs to be right now. That was a little disappointing.
“Now there were some bright spots. We’ve moved (sophomore) Dominique Croom to a slot receiver position and he’s 6-(foot)-3, 195 pounds and that gives us some size there. I thought he had a really nice day today. (Junior quarterback) Nathan Dick continues to throw the ball well. I thought (junior receiver) Isaiah Jackson had a pretty good day, as well as (senior) Ken Robey.
“We just didn’t have the consistency with the details, our alignments and assignments, reading coverages. That all has to improve."
Conque said part of the lack of consistency can be traced to lack of preparation time.
“I think one of the challenges we are facing is we’re still in summer school with some of our freshman and newcomers," he said. “So they’re missing some meeting time and that is costing them in their growth right now. But nevertheless, we have to push through it and do the things we need to do to be prepared to go to practice and execute. And I didn’t think we did that quite as well today.
“We have to be able to get lined up correctly. The spacing at the receiver position has to be correct. When you run as many formations as we run, motions and different things, it’s not easy. It’s difficult. Your focus in the class room, in the meetings, has to be at a high level. Then you have to be able to carry that over to the practice field. Some of our young men are struggling with that a little bit."
The Bears will don shoulder pads for the first time today.
“When you put on the shoulder pads, you get to learn a little bit more about your front seven on defense and your offensive line and tight ends,’ Conque said.
Three players (Jordan Chrisman, Justin Williams, John Mills) missed all or part of practice Monday with heat related problems, while Chase Dickson was excused for a funeral.
The Bears return to the practice field at 3:45 today.