The University of Arkansas at Monticello football team is set to conclude its spring practices on April 16 with the annual Green vs. White Spring Game.
Due to weather, the game has been moved from Willis “Convoy” Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium to Monticello High School’s Hyatt Field. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
“First of all, we are very grateful to Coach Marty Davis and Monticello High School for allowing us to use their facilities,” said UAM head coach Hud Jackson. “This will be the first year we will be able to get all 15 practices done.”
Jackson said for the past three years, the team’s practice schedule has been shortened due to weather or other reasons. This spring, weather was an issue, but the Weevils were able to restructure the schedule to allow for all 15 practices, which includes the annual spring game.
The Weevils have two primary goals heading into Thursday’s spring game. “First and foremost, we want to stay healthy,” said Jackson. “Other than that, we want a very productive atmosphere that will leave our players knowing they got better over these past few weeks. We want them heading into summer with a positive attitude and much to look forward to.”
The spring game will be offense vs. defense. The offense will earn points based on touchdowns, extra points, field goals and explosive plays. The defense will earn points on defensive touchdowns, three-and-out stops, turnovers and quarterback sacks.
The Weevils began spring practices in mid-March and held their first scrimmage this past Friday night.
“All in all, the most competitive position we have right now is running back. During our first scrimmage, I think we combined for about 200 yards rushing, and I’ve been impressed with all of them. I think they all bring something special to the table.”
Jackson’s running back corps includes returners Nick Williams, Jeremy Jackson, Alex Taylor, and mid-year transfer Travis Turner. “I really hope these guys (the returners) keep performing the way they are now when the season gets here. They are really doing some special things. With Travis, he has a different speed, and once he gets more familiar with the offense schemes, he will be competing for reps.”
With the running back situation being very productive during spring practice, Jackson is including that position as one of his team’s strengths at this point, along with linebackers and safeties. “We feel good about those position groups, but the bottom line is, we need to make sure we are solid up front on both sides of the ball. That has been a point of emphasis for us all along is to make sure we are improving on the offensive line and defensive line so we can maximize the potential of our team.”
Jackson said that going into the spring game, the Weevils are two-deep at every position, and in certain positions, three or four-deep. “If depth would have been a problem this spring, we would have had to do things differently. It’s not a concern for me now, especially knowing what we will be bringing in once fall camp gets here, including several experienced players at multiple positions.”
Spring training camp has been a time when returners take on new roles; some in leadership capacity, and transfers mix in to provide extra competition. Nothing different this spring, according to Jackson, who even commented on the team bonding activities outside of the locker room and practice field.
“I’ve had calls about players being loud in the cafeteria and other places,” said Jackson. “We can correct that. What we can’t correct is the players not enjoying the time spent with teammates outside of practice. That’s just an example of what we haven’t had in the past.”
Jackson continued about team chemistry, “What’s been really great is seeing several of our high school signees and junior college transfers that aren’t graduating until next month around campus during practices on their own. That tells me these guys are hungry to be a part of what we have going on.”