Media Day at the University of Central Arkansas’ was deja vu to new defensive coordinator Greg Stewart.
Standing beside him for the UCA team photo was new head coach Steve Campbell.
Sitting beside him for the Troy State team photo in 1983 was Steve Campbell, a fellow freshman player.
“It was strange. In some ways, it seemned like it was just yesterday,” said Stewart, one of the first coaches Campbell brought with him to UCA.
At Troy which eventually won a Division II national title, Stewart played noseguard and Campbell was a center.
“We butted heads for five years, everyday,” said Stewart.
They later coached together at Delta State.
“He (Campbell) is just one of those guys you keep up with and we’ve always done that,” Stewart said.
The two, for their tenure at UCA, are obviously on the same page.
“He (Campbell) has had my back for a long time,” said Stewart. “You know what you are getting with him.”
The Bear defenders know what they are getting from Stewart, one of the most dynamic and animated coaches.
It’s not hard to spot him on the field. He’s right in the middle of the action.
In a 24-year coaching career, he has coached in NCAA Division II, FCS and FBS levels. He has coached 13 All-Americans in stints at Jacksonville State, Delta State and Louisiana-Lafayette.
He has switched the Bears to a 3-4 alignment.
“It gives you more verstality against spread offenses,” he said. “And you can move linebackers down to a four- or five-man front out of the 3-4 easier than you can move a lineman back in pass coverage in a 4-3.
“But whatever the formation, it comes down to blocking and tackling. Somebody has to get the A gap, somebody has to get the flat and you’ve got to cover in the secondary.”
In the season opener, Stewart faced with containing Texas Tech, possibly the best offensive team UCA has ever faced.
“Some far, the effort has been good,” he said. “This team has passion and that makes the games fun. The team is fun to coach and the work ethic has been pretty amazing.”
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 5010-505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dmaclcd)