Cole Caruthers has a sparkle in his eye and enthusiasm in his voice.
“I’ve had three different (offensive) line coaches since I have been here.” said the senior. “I’ve never had one more enthusiastic or passionate as this one.”
Who’s that coach?
He smiled and pointed to UCA head coach Steve Campbell, one person down in the interview room on media day.
The head coach is also the offensive line coach, and it’s by choice.
Campbell was a center in college and loves working with the smaller picture as well as the big picture.
“I played in the offensive line and loved putting on that hard hat everyday and going to work,” he said. “The linemen are not going to get their name in the paper that much, probably not score a touchdown or take a handoff. But it’s the position on the football field I fell in love with.”
And it allows a special connection with the players. He’s a hands-on coach.
“I want to stay involved,” he said. “It’s not my style to stand back or go in a watch tower.”
Campbell said coaching linemen gives him a good gauge of the overall team.
“You’re working with and teaching the guys up front, and I’ve always believed the game is won up front,” he said. “But when you coach the offensive line, it also keeps you in contact with the defensive line because you’re going against them in a lot of drills. I think it keeps keeps you in tune with the heartbeat of the football team.”
“From a lineman’s standpoint, we know it’s gonna be done right with him,” said Caruthers.
For Campbell, it’s just part of the job.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)