The fact that the Central Arkansas defense has had its way with the offense in the early practices doesn’t bother quarterback Wynrick Smothers.
“Hey, they’re good, and they’re flying around pretty fast out there,” he said.
He’s confident the offense can come around, and he hopes it shows progress during Saturday’s second major scrimmage of the preseason, which takes on a greater degree of urgency because the first one was cut short by lightning.
“The defense is flying around, and usually comes around quicker than the offense,” said Smothers, the Offensive Player of the Year last year in the Southland Conference. “Offense is more thinking, more execution. It takes time to develop a rhythm with the offensive line, the wide receivers and running backs. It takes awhile to get in sync.”
But he’s impressed with the capabilities of the UCA defense.
“The defense has a number of guys with a lot of experience who have been playing together a long time, and they are using their experience to the max,” he said.
The Bears have less-experienced players at the skill positions.
“I tell them not to be nervous, just watch tape of the guys who have gone before them and do what they do,” he said. “They’ll come around.”
Smothers took over the team as a starter for the first time last fall and had one of the most effective seasons in history.
“I have a bigger leadership role this season,” he said. “Last year, I was new, and I had to get the other guys used to following me. I hadn’t done it. I think last year I proved myself as a leader. They see what I’ve done and it should make it easier for them.”
One test will come Saturday. Smothers and the coaches realize they must present a greater challenge to the defense.
“It’s easier to build when you have a fifth-year senior at quarterback who is a proven winner,” said UCA coach Clint Conque.
From a fraction of Scrimmage 1 to Scrimmage 2, it will be interesting to measure the progress.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)