Monte Coleman was more pleased with Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s latest scrimmage than the previous one, mainly because he saw a more physical effort on both sides of the ball.
“I was a lot more pleased with the attitude coming into this scrimmage and the performance on the field,” the head coach said Friday night. “We still have a ways to go before our first game, but I was pleased with the aggression.”
All the aggression the Golden Lions defense displayed wasn’t enough to contain quarterback Ben Anderson, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 246 yards and led the offense to scores on six drives during an 89-play scrimmage Friday evening. The passing game was more effective for Anderson, who connected with 11 different receivers.
“It was a lot of improvement from last week,” said Anderson, who was 14-for-24 for 147 yards last Saturday. “It was some dropped passes, but for the most part, the receivers did good. I can’t complain too much. There’s always room for improvement, but for the most part everyone did good today.”
Coleman said the Golden Lions didn’t play with enough physicality on either side of the ball during last week’s scrimmage. While the defense came up with only two sacks Friday night, the unit was more aggressive in pass coverage and limited big plays on the ground.
Anderson played in all but three drives. His top backup, Brandon Duncan, played in two drives and was 1-for-5 for 5 yards, Coleman said the prep school transfer threw the ball better.
Freshman SanAntonio Cole quarterbacked the last series but did not attempt a pass.
Freshmen Joey Louis and Marcus Terrell did not see action Friday.
Coleman cautioned that the snap count for each quarterback was not a sign that he’s only committed to using up to three quarterbacks during the season.
“I don’t have the luxury to say I’m going to redshirt this guy or that guy,” Coleman said. “It’s a game-by-game type of deal. In all reality, there is a good chance a couple of the young guys get redshirted, and in all probability, they will be. But I don’t prematurely say I’m going to redshirt this guy because I don’t have that luxury.”
Anderson got some of the younger wide receivers involved early and often. Sophomore Cody Swain had two catches for 32 yards before leaving the scrimmage early with an undisclosed injury. It wasn’t immediately known if a hard hit he took from two defenders simultaneously while trying to bring down a catch caused the injury.
Anderson completed a 37-yard pass to Ladarius Eckwood to set up a short touchdown run by Justin Billings. He also threw for two touchdowns, finding Joel Porchia in the corner on a 12-yard toss and hitting Willie Young on a slant from 10 yards out.
Senior receiver Dezmond Beverly was held out of the scrimmage with an injury to his finger, but offensive coordinator Eric Dooley was happy to see the younger receivers step up.
“You’re going to have your Eckwoods and your Dez Beverlys, but my whole vision is that I’ve got enough receivers to let everyone get a feel of it,” he said.
Alton Taylor had a 3-yard touchdown run, and Tyler Strickland hit 6 of 7 field goal attempts (some of which did not come in scrimmage play), including a 57-yard make. His career long in a game is 50 yards against Alabama State last year.
Senior linebacker Xavier Lofton left the scrimmage early with a shoulder bruise but is expected to be back practicing by Monday.
UAPB will hold two-a-day practices Saturday, Monday and Wednesday as preseason camp heads into its final week. The Lions will open the season at Arkansas State on Aug. 31.