PINE BLUFF, Ark.- The University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions football team officially opened camp on Monday with over 90 players reporting for fall drills all vying for playing time and a chance to compete for several open slots on the Golden Lions depth chart.
A new era in Golden Lions football will begin in at the start of the season as UAPB welcomes the addition of Eric Dooley as Offensive Coordinator, Earl Buckingham as linebackers coach, and Marty Biagi as defensive backs coach.
There will also be a new face behind center with the departure of Joshua Boudreux who last season broke the 3,000 yard barrier while setting new records in several statistical categories. In addition offensively the Golden Lions will look to replace Raymond Webber who led the NCAA FCS tallying 101 receptions while racking up 1,429 receiving yards.
UAPB Head Coach Monte Coleman is optimistic that those voids left from last seasons’ departures all across the board can be filled by a talented group of newcomers that will look to make immediate impacts.
“The starting quarterback position is completely up for grabs,” said Coleman. “With that in mind we have two red shirt freshmen in C.J. Branch and Ben Anderson as well as transfer in Dewayne Watts that will compete for the starting position. With none of them having any playing experience at this level we plan on going with the player that exhibits the best decision making ability within the confines of what we’re going to try to do offensively. Whichever one of these young men separates himself in that regards is going to be our starter.”
“At the wide receiver position last season our top receiver caught over 100 receptions. If we’re able to spread the ball around more this season and have three or four guys catch 30-40 receptions we would be pleased with that. We plan to do a lot of the same stuff offensively so we anticipate our players will be able to adjust easily to Dooley’s system. The biggest part of this transition will be our players grasping the new terminology.”
Defensively the Golden Lions they will be anchored by 2011 SWAC Preseason First Team selection Jer-ryan Harris and cornerback James Harrell who looks to have a breakout year after starting off strong last season.
Discipline, focus, and quick reaction was consistently relayed to the defense on the first day of camp with several players running to the ball at all times. On the defensive side of the ball Arkansas-Pine Bluff also welcomes back Michael Johnson (DT), Joe Brown (DB), and Jamel Maxwell (DB) who return from injuries.
“It was good to see several guys from last years’ team who had to sit out much of last season,” said Coleman. “Johnson, Brown, and Maxwell all have contributed to this program in the past and they all seemed fired up to be back out on the football field. Collectively the defense flew around today and as a coach you’re always pleased to see that early on. I feel we started camp today with the right team attitude and we’ll look to get better tomorrow.”
Arkansas-Pine Bluff will continue camp on Tuesday at 2:15 pm at the Golden Lions practice field. UAPB will host two scrimmages on Friday, August 19th at the White Hall football stadium at 7:00 pm and another on August 24th at 6:00 pm at the UAPB practice field. Both scrimmages are set to be open to the general public.