Avoiding Injury Bug: Jackson preaches staying healthy to give Weevils chance

MONTICELLO — After losing three of their quarterbacks to injury before Week 2 of last season, the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils are doing everything they can to avoid the bite of the “injury bug”.

“If we can do that, we will be fine,” UAM head coach Hud Jackson said during Tuesday’s team Media Day.

The Weevils finished last season with just one win – a 78-0 victory over College of Faith to begin the season.

“We want to improve from what our season was last year and when you go 1-10, there is a lot of room for improvement,” Jackson said. “The biggest thing we want to accomplish is to win more games.”

If the Weevils hope to accomplish that goal, they will have to remain healthy.

“The workout program that we give them has done a lot of good as far as preventive maintenance is concerned,” Jackson said.

The workout begins in January and lasts all summer.

“What we did workout-wise this summer is all voluntary,” Jackson said. “But when we got 85 of our guys coming here on a voluntary basis, that is pretty awesome.”

Still, there is no perfect way to protect a player from injury.

“This game is a very physical game,” Jackson said. “You could be in the best shape of your life, but a lot of times that has nothing to do with it when it comes to injuries.”

Jackson said the injuries dealt to UAM’s quarterbacks were nothing but freak accidents.

“They were non-contact injuries,” Jackson said. “One of them blew his knee on a drop back and one guy broke his ankle making a run against Northwestern Oklahoma State in the middle of the field when no one was around him.

“Probably one of the most gruesome injuries I’ve ever seen. And one kid – on a follow-through during fall camp – had nerve damage in his throwing shoulder.”

Jackson, who is in his third year with UAM, said the team is doing everything it can to try to prevent any serious injury.

“You just want to try to get bigger and stronger and maybe withstand a few more hits than what you would normally do,” Jackson said.

The Weevils will report to their first practice this morning.

“You are just hoping you don’t get bitten by the injury bug,” Jackson said. “That is basically what it comes down to,” Jackson said.

UAM’s season opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 7 at East Central in Ada, Okla.