First scrimmage encouraging to UCA’s Campbell

The University of Central Arkansas football team made enough progress on both sides of the ball during its first major scrimmage of the spring to make coach Steve Campbell feel good going into spring break.

“Our first-team guys did a lot of good things, we protected the football well, our running backs ran well and (quarterback) Hayden (Hildebrand) ran the offense like a senior should,” Campbell said.

One major question mark is in the defensive interior and Campbell said redshirt freshman Austin Norris and sophomore Javian Williams have made good progress.

“It’s the opposite of last spring when we have holes to fill in the defensive line and and we have experience a good depth in the offensive line,” Campbell said. “We have good competition going at several spots. It’s really an exciting spring.”

The receiving corps has some experience but players are taking on more frontline roles.

“I was encouraged by (Texas Tech transfer) Jakari Dillard making a catch that set up a touchdown,” Campbell said. “Roman Gordon had some big receptions later. (Conway redshirt freshman quarterback) Breylin Smith is having a good spring. He hit Joe Hampton nicely on a deep TD.”

Kirk Baugh, last year’s backup quarterback, is getting a look this spring at safety.

Thursday’s scrimmage consisted of 100-plus plays.

“That’s a lot for us for a first scrimmage but it was good for us,” Campbell said. “Some of these guys haven’t played much before an need the reps. They need to be put in game-type situations.”

After a week off for spring break, the Bears have eight more practices beginning March 27 with scrimmages each Saturday. The climactic Purple-Gray game is set for Saturday, April 8.

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