Conque gives stormy critique of lightning-shortened scrimmage

Few good plays among 45 the Bears ran in first major outing of preseason

The first major scrimmage of the season for the University of Central Arkansas was halted by lightning, and coach Clint Conque had a stormy reaction to what he saw.

The Bears scrimmaged for 45 snaps before Conque was informed of lightning in the area and sent his team off the field.

“It was a minimum 30-minute delay and there was no reason to bring them back out and have them go through stretching again,” Conque.

Twelve minutes into the scrimmage, Conque ordered the offensive unit off the field and it didn’t have anything to do with weather,

“I was not impressed on either side of the ball, although the defense had more bright spots,” he said after the Bears’ eighth practice. “I could make a lot of excuses but it was just ugly football, particularly on the offensive side. We had false starts, missed assignments, poor throws. I’ve been disappointed in our offense the entire week. It’s garbage right now.”

The offense scored twice but not until the scrimmage was 40 minutes deep. Senior quarterback Wynrick Smothers hit Damien Watts on a 34-yard rollout pass. Minutes later, backup Taylor Reed connected with Courtney Whitehead for 14 yards in the corner of the end zone.

Otherwise, the scrimmage was dotted with self-inflicted wounds.

“It was painstakingly awful execution on just fundamental things,” Conque said.

Twelve players were held out of the scrimmage because of injuries.

“We were trying to get a look at a lot of players, but some of the bad throws and missed assignments were from frontline players,” he said. “We’ll start narrowing down (one the players who get major reps) this week.”

Wide receiver Jetavious Wilson had some of the brightest moments in addition to Whitehead.

“What concerns me now is I was thinking we have a chance to be a really good defense,” Conque said. “When the offense is playing as poorly as it is, you worry about getting a false sense of security about the defensive side. Is the defense that good or is it because our offense is playing so poorly?”

The Bears will scrimmage again at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

“But more important are the practices this week,” Conque said. “We have a lot of work to do just on fundamental things and assignments.

“I assure you, things will be better next Saturday,” he said to reporters as they departed his office. “Sorry, you had to watch that garbage.”

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