Special to the Commercial/Mike Tadlock
Arkansas-Monticello quarterback Hunter Leppert (4) lines up in the shotgun during a scrimmage earlier in fall camp.
Arkansas-Monticello head coach Hud Jackson is scared of his opponent to open the season.
But what is there to be scared about with College of Faith? The school has not even been around for a full year and this is its first year of football.
Today’s game, which kicks off at 6 p.m., was originally scheduled to be against Shepherd Technical College out of West Memphis, but the school closed its doors this summer.
College of Faith moved into the same building as Shepherd Tech and all of the school’s classes are taken online. College of Faith is currently an unaccredited, faith-based institution.
So the reason Jackson is scared of the Mighty Believers is because he does not know anything about them.
“Other than the 50 guys on this roster they gave me, that’s all we know,” he said. “There are so many uncertainties with them, and that’s what scares me. We just don’t know about them.”
The Boll Weevils were in a similar position last year, but not in their first game, which was a 38-31 win at home against Arkansas Tech.
In their second game last season, the Boll Weevils pounded Texas College at home, 41-0. But going into the game, Jackson was very unfamiliar with Texas College.
“Last year when we played Texas College, we didn’t know a whole about them,” he said. “Same with these guys.”
Shepherd Tech played Harding last year, which the Bisons won 75-0. That is the only film Jackson could have on College of Faith.
“We have one game from last year and we don’t know how much that will tell us,” he said. “There is a new head coach … on the roster they have some pretty good players and we recognize some of these names.”
Helena-West Helena’s DeAndre Johnson and Memphis’ Mark Anderson are two names Jackson is familiar with. Jackson remember Johnson from when he was an assistant coach at Central Arkansas and saw Johnson perform during the 7-on-7 drills in high school. While Jackson knows Anderson’s name, he does not know much about him.
After that, the roster could easily change before today’s kickoff.
“They could have somebody just walk in the door,” Jackson said. “We just hope we come out like we did against Texas College and get a win.”
The Mighty Believers are coached by Rickey Jemison, who played for Arkansas State from 1983-86.
Jackson said from what he has found out, Jemison employs a spread offense and a 4-3 defense.
“He coached last year in the Memphis area …. and those are the things we are preparing for,” he said. “They have a couple of quarterbacks that we know can do some damage with the ball in their hands.”
With so much unknown about The Mighty Believers, the Boll Weevils will have to execute and stay fundamentally sound today.
“Consistency will be the key and not have any fundamental breakdowns,” Jackson said. “If we can do that, I will feel good. That uncertainty just concerns me.”
Defensive end Calvin Ursin will miss this game and the next two after undergoing surgery on his knee last Friday. Cornerback DeVonte Bess will be held of today’s game with a dislocated finger. Monticello native Matt Parrish, a senior, broke his hand early in camp, but he has been practicing with a cast lately.
Former Monticello High School standout Seth Oxner, a senior, will start at center. Blake Prince gets the starting nod at running back with McGehee and redshirt freshman Kendall Lambert backing him up. Dumas native and sophomore Barry Boney gets the start at outside linebacker.