Putting together some more pieces on the Nathan Brown picture as new University of Central Arkansas football coach:
North Dakota State’s 55-13 manhandling of Sam Houston State in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs is Exhibit A of what Brown plans to expand at UCA in recruiting.
The Bison scored five touchdowns in the first half, four on straight possessions, and amassed 642 yards in offense to the Bearcats’ 176 in that half. It was no contest against the perennial Southland Conference power.
"The teams that are playing in December and who are playing for national champions, have size, are physical and have big backs," he said. "I want to win inside out. That means I want to start with the most physical defensive linemen and the most physical, strongest and smart linemen and the rest will take care of itself. UCA will always have good skill people."
He plans on building an energetic staff with a passion for UCA, a similar passion he has had as a player and coach.
It appears he is going to bring in former UCA player, assistant and former Abilene Christian head coach Ken Collums as offensive coordinator. Collums was dismissed at ACU last year, helped lead the Bears to the 1991 national championship and was in the mix as a potential head coach here when UCA hired Steve Campbell.
It would give UCA three different eras of successful quarterbacks on the staff — Brown, Collums and Ryan Howard.
Collums and assistant Brooks Hollingsworth have been head coaches. He plans to lean on their experience and wisdom. "This is not Nathan Brown’s program," he said. "It’s UCA’s.
"For years and years. guys have spent a lot of time laying the foundation for this program to get it to where we are today. Yeh, it’s pressure to build on that but it’s a good kind of pressure."
His defensive coordinator seems to be Max Thurmond, the co-defensive coordinator at resurgent Austin Peay last season who has worked alongside Greg Stewart, the defensive coordinator for Steve Campbell
When he coaches his first game as a UCA head coach, he, at age 32, will be the 10th youngest in UCA history, according to UCA’s master archivist, Jimmy Bryant.
He will be the youngest since 1952 when Jim Blair Crafton took charge of the program at age 27. The youngest coach in UCA history was J.C. Cook, who was 22 when he led the Bears in 1914.
Brown has been on the fast track since he took over as quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2005 and almost engineered at upset of Valdosta State.
"My whole athletic career from a player to a coach has been accelerated for whatever reason," he said. "I feel fortunate that at age 24 I was calling plays in Division I football. I think I’ve always responded to pressure in a positive way."
He met his wife, Jessica, while they were students at UCA. She is expected to be an integral part of the support program in creating a family atmosphere.
"All my good times have been at this school," he said in a video interview.
Brown expects to sign almost half of his 2018 class on the first early signing day for Division I football on Wednesday.
"When we met as coaches in preseason, we thought we were going to be pretty good in 2017. But we thought 2018 was going to be something special with what we had."