Not just another Monday: Coleman cites 'upbeat' atmosphere


Monday’s SWAC coaches’ teleconference went a little differently for Monte Coleman. He got to review an Arkansas-Pine Bluff football victory for the first time this season.

“It’s more of an upbeat atmosphere,” Coleman said. “I got a smile on my face. It’s never fun to lose a football game. To get our first victory, we’re very joyful around Golden Lion Stadium.”

UAPB broke into the win column Saturday with a 38-18 triumph at Mississippi Valley State behind outstanding performances by quarterback Ben Anderson and wide receiver Cody Swain. Both attained career highs in their performances, Anderson’s 123 rushing yards and Swain’s 153 receiving yards.

“We just ask Ben to play within the system,” Coleman said. “Cody has a great ability to run good routes. I try to spread the ball around, and this week, it was Cody Swain’s chance to have a big week.”

Despite their performances, neither earned a SWAC player of the week award.

Coleman said his Golden Lions took a big sigh of relief knowing that their seven-game losing streak — tied for the longest since 2008 — was behind them.

“In past games, I saw guys crying after a loss,” Coleman said. “This time, they were very jovial, jumping around. The way it should be.”

UAPB also won’t have a loss to stew over during this, its second bye week of the season. Coleman said this week’s practices will be similar to the first bye week in that the Lions won’t focus on the next opponent but go back to working on basics.

Grambling State visits UAPB on Nov. 9.

Harris still leads nation

UAPB senior linebacker Jer-ryan Harris still leads the Football Championship Subdivision in tackles per game despite making only five stops at Valley.

Harris leads the category with 12.1 tackles, just ahead of James Madison’s Stephon Robertson (11.9) and Hampton’s Delbert Tyler. Harris has 97 tackles on the season, one away from his total last year and three shy of his first 100-tackle season since his freshman year (129).

‘Digging up options’

Fourth-year Valley coach Karl Morgan was asked Monday if he had run out of options to make his offense more productive.

The Delta Devils scored just above their 17-point per game average Saturday but again was held to fewer than 300 yards of total offense. Quarterback Patrick Ivy completed 13 of 33 passes with two interceptions, but threw for 239 yards.

“We’ve got three games left, so we’ve got to keep digging up options,” Morgan said.

Morgan said he saw improvement in his junior-college transfer quarterback, who was not completely healthy with a hamstring injury.

Winston comes close in debut

Grambling State was a little more than 10 minutes away from its first victory of the season — and Dennis Winston’s first as the Tigers’ second interim head coach.

Texas Southern tied the game at 17-17 with 10:25 left in regulation and won it 23-17 on a 3-yard Jamal Small run in overtime.

“The defense came out a little more physical,” said Winston, who was the Tigers’ defensive coordinator before being promoted Oct. 17 to replace George Ragsdale. “We had some people out during the course of the season with injuries, and when we get everyone back, I think we’ll get back to our old selves.”

It was Grambling State’s first game since its widely reported forfeiture of Jackson State’s homecoming game a week earlier due to player protests. A crowd of 7,670 at Eddie Robinson Stadium witnessed the overtime affair.

Winston didn’t field as many questions Monday as he did in the previous teleconference.

“We’re still unified as coaches,” Winston said. “All of that is in the past. You know it’s old news when the media stops coming around.”