Monte Coleman Takes Another Step Forward With UAPB Golden Lions

by Doug Crise  on Monday, Jul. 11, 2011 12:00 am  

UAPB Coach Monte Coleman will be hearing a new offensive coordinator through his headset and looking for answers early with his mostly homegrown Golden Lions. (Photo by University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff)

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Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s new approach to offense worked well last season. Perhaps it worked a bit too well.

In hiring former Central Arkansas assistant Jerry Mack as offensive coordinator in 2010, Golden Lions Coach Monte Coleman made a drastic shift away from the pro-style, run-based philosophy that had met with mixed results throughout his tenure. Mack installed a Spread system that had the Golden Lions scoring 27.3 points per game and produced an All-American in wide receiver Raymond Webber.

That led to a job offer from Division I Memphis for Mack, allowing him to be closer to home. Webber, meanwhile, has exhausted his eligibility, as has quarterback Josh Boudreaux.

In their place comes a new offensive coordinator in Eric Dooley, a new offensive system, a battle at quarterback and a lot of unanswered questions.

Dooley’s most recent stop was Southern, a perennial Southwestern Athletic Conference power. His first task will be figuring out who will take the snaps. The most experienced quarterback on the roster is Watson Chapel product C.J. Branch, though Benjamin Anderson, a standout at Little Rock Parkview, watched and learned as a freshman and is now ready to compete for playing time. Former Bearden standout Dewayne Watts plans to transfer from Arkansas Baptist College.

Make no mistake, the Golden Lions will still have weapons. White Hall native Adrian Moore worked as both a runner and a receiver in 2010, and his roles could expand in 2011.

“We could even play him on defense,” Coleman said. “This kid is a specimen of a football player.”

Unlike most college head coaches, Coleman has his own recruiting territory. And he guards it viciously.

Coleman, who grew up in Pine Bluff, personally stakes out the city’s three high schools, plus nearby White Hall. That has netted him the likes of Moore, Branch and Pine Bluff safety Jarvis Webb (6-0, 204). One of the bigger names in the 2011 signing class is Jawahn Hunt, who was a standout running back for the Pine Bluff Zebras last year, once topping 300 yards rushing in a game.

“One of the first things we do in recruiting is recruit our backyard,” Coleman said. “And that means our four schools – Pine Bluff, Watson Chapel, Dollarway and White Hall. Those are my areas. We have a major emphasis.”

The Golden Lions have nine returning starters – five on offense and four on defense – from last year’s 4-6 (4-4 in the SWAC) squad. Beside Branch, Anderson, Moore and Webb, key returnees include senior Rontrell Bailey (6-2, 243), who plays both halfback and tight end; sophomore halfback Justin Billings (5-6, 170) and senior athlete Trey Austin (5-8, 190).

Other players to keep an eye on include Chris Ewald, a senior kicker; Dhabion Woodfin, a senior running back; Jerryan Harris, a sophomore linebacker; and Derrick Timber, a senior linebacker.



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