McCollum’s Column: What the Bears did during the lightning delay

Time management became an issue Saturday night for the University of Central Arkansas Bears at Natchitoches, La.

 

In the locker room.

The game, a 45-17 UCA victory, took five hours and six minutes to complete. Two hours and 40 minutes of that were lightning delays.

That create two challenges for the Bears, hungry on two levels.

The first was what to do in the locker room. The second delay, an hour, came immediately after the Bears emerged for the second-half kickoff. They retreated to the tiny locker room at Turpin Stadium.

There can’t be another lightning strike within 30 minutes during the delays. Thus, it’s uncertain how long the wait will be.

“It’s a double-sided sword,” said UCA coach Steve Campbell. “You want them to stay loose, but you also want them to get off their feet and conserve energy. They (the players) were really fired up and jumping up and down. The main thing is to conserve energy. But we had also come out of the locker room with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. And you don’t want to lose that when we go back out …

And there’s the food factor. UCA has its pregame meal four hours before kickoff.

“We’re in the locker room and it’s been awhile since these players had eaten,” Campbell said. “That’s two and a half hours longer (with the weather delay) before the players could eat. After six and a half hours without eating, a lot of that energy is gone. You try to get the players thinking about the game but not get too tight.

“I’m not sure that being on the road is not helpful. If at home, we go into a large locker and get comfortable. In that locker, we had to get up and walk around. It’s a balancing act.”

The Bears had barbecue waiting after the game. It was cold after the lengthy game.

“It was delicious,” said Campbell.

 

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