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Four coaches retained from 2022 football staff

by I.C. Murrell | March 16, 2023 at 3:08 a.m.
Defensive backs coach Jeff Burrow is one of four UAPB assistants that head Coach Alonzo Hampton held over from the 2022 football staff. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

The fact that four coaches remaining from the 2022 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football roster are listed on Alonzo Hampton's first staff isn't a sign the first-year Golden Lions coach has more hires to make.

His staff is set for 2023.

"Being at a place like Pine Bluff, you want guys who are workers, and these guys showed that they can do multiple things," Hampton said Wednesday, just before taking the field for the Lions' second spring practice. "You know, obviously, you have to do more than coach here. You have to be able to recruit. You have to be able to do film."

Hampton saw enough multi-tasking ability in Kendrick Nord, Ben Wilkerson, Jake Bahr and Jeff Burrow to hold them over from Doc Gamble's final staff, which Don Treadwell took over the final four games after Gamble's firing in October.

Nord, a former Grambling State quarterback, coached that position last year but has moved to the wide receivers group to make room to allow Hampton's first key hire, offensive coordinator Bobby Acosta, to lead the signal-callers.

One of Acosta's tasks in Pine Bluff is to identify the next starting quarterback, after Skyler Perry spent five years at the controls and threw for 6,926 career yards and 41 touchdowns.

Rising sophomore Chancellor Edwards took some snaps behind Perry late in the season as classmate Jalen Macon is coming off a season-ending ankle injury against Southern University and rising junior Mekhi Hagens tries to move up the depth chart following a redshirt year.

Acosta saw the three quarterbacks throw the ball for the first time Tuesday.

"I saw some things we have to work on, and the good thing is that we have 14 more practices to do it," Acosta said before Wednesday's workout.

As for identifying the next featured back, that's another task for him and Wilkerson, who remains with the running backs. Kayvon Britten rushed for 1,063 yards last fall but transferred to Tarleton State in Texas.

"I'm impressed with some of the guys running around right now," Acosta said. "My big philosophy is to have a balanced attack, so whatever's working, that's what's going to cause the balance."

Gamble hired Burrow as a defensive co-coordinator focusing on the passing game, but Hampton kept Burrow as a secondary coach while hiring former Texas A&M-Kingsville and Central Methodist University (Mo.) Coach David Calloway to coordinate the defense. Bahr remains linebackers coach but is also Hampton's recruiting coordinator.

"Obviously, I'm a defensive backs guy," Hampton said. "This guy has the right temperament. He's very sharp. He's coached in the Group of Five [bowl conferences not considered Power Five] before at Buffalo and Kent State. We talked, and I feel good about him."

In picking Calloway, Hampton sought someone with experience calling the defensive plays.

"Big thing for spring is make sure we're getting better every day, make sure our kids are understanding how to play together, that defense is a team sport and make sure that we are sound," Calloway said. "The first thing is we've got to understand how to stop the run, and everything builds off that."

Hampton announced another hire this week in offensive line coach Steve Wallace, who last season rose from graduate assistant to offensive line coach when Cadillac Williams was named interim coach for the Tigers' last four games. Wallace, of Atlanta, has also coached at Arkansas Baptist College and Millsaps College in Mississippi, and has held internships with the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Hampton also hired Kyle Kramer as special teams and tight ends coach.

"All those guys wanted to be here," Hampton of his staff. "They had other options, so it was important for me to be able to get those guys to stay here with us."

UAPB will resume spring practice Friday, take off next week for spring break, and work out 12 more times with a scrimmage April and the spring game April 22.

  photo  UAPB Coach Alonzo Hampton talks with players before the start of practice Wednesday at Simmons Bank Field at Golden Lion Stadium. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

Print Headline: Four coaches retained from 2022 football staff


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