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story.lead_photo.caption UCA defensive back Duke Upshaw (22) breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Lujuan Winningham during Saturday’s scrimmage at Bear Stadium in Conway.

The defense shined for the University of Central Arkansas on Saturday in the Bears' first major scrimmage of fall camp at Estes Stadium in Conway.

The defensive line was particularly impressive for the Bears, who open on the road with Western Kentucky on Aug. 29.

"Really pleased where our defense is," second-year Coach Nathan Brown said in a news release. "They really flew around to the ball. I saw a lot of big plays, guys making people miss, guys making big hits.

"The defensive line stood up. We've got some guys down [injured] on the defensive line, but I thought four or five guys really stepped up, practiced hard and really looked good out there in the absence of a couple of guys. So that was big to see, too."

Brown liked the play of the running backs and quarterbacks, but was not pleased by periods of sloppiness.

"The quarterbacks protected the ball when they threw it. But we have to protect the ball," Brown said. "We had 3-4 balls on the ground between our receivers and running backs, and we have to get better at that. But that's why you do this. It gives us an opportunity to coach it up and get better about it."

Brown said the offensive line, a predicted strength heading into the season, is harder to evaluate in a scrimmage situation.

"I'll have to get on the film and see how the offensive line did," he said. "There were some good plays and some good movement in there at times. But that's a position we're looking for guys to maybe mix around and see what our best combination is."

The Bears will hold one more short scrimmage Wednesday evening featuring the band, pep squads and the Bear Den student group before classes begin Thursday. Game preparation for Western Kentucky will begin in earnest after that.

"We'll have an abbreviated scrimmage on Wednesday, get some young guys worked in there," Brown said. "Some guys that maybe missed today will hopefully be able to go in that scrimmage. We have a big week ahead of us. I think we've taken big strides from Week 1 to Week 2 of camp. I fully expect out guys to be ready to go by Western Kentucky."

Sports on 08/18/2019

Print Headline: D-line gets kudos in UCA scrimmage

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