by Doc Harper
Posted 7/11/2011 12:00 am
When talking to Coach Richard Wilson about Arkansas Baptist College football, it doesn’t take long to understand why he is proud of the program’s progress since it began in 2007.
“I started this from scratch,” said Wilson, a former Arkansas Razorback wide receiver. “Our goal for the first team was just to play hard and not give up. The second year, we learned to crawl. Now, in our fifth year, we’re at jogging speed.”
Evidence of the program’s growth is easy to find. This year, eight players from Arkansas Baptist signed to play football at UCA, UAPB and several out-of-state campuses. There are more than 65 Buffaloes returning and Wilson expects to add to the list of signees.
Arkansas Baptist needs work on the offensive line. It has been easy to find skill position athletes, Wilson said, but finding players for the trenches has been another story. Wilson expects linemen like Jordan Arthur and Gary Artiste to help make the Buffaloes more competitive than 2010’s 3-7 record.
The line will protect quarterback Terrall Robinson, who started as a freshman in 2009 but redshirted last year. Wilson thinks a more mature Robinson could have a great year in 2011.
“I’ve always set tangible goals,” Wilson said. “Now I think we’ll be disappointed if we’re not a .500 team.”
Finding Arkansas Talent
One of Wilson’s primary goals is to find and recruit more local players. One success story is Michael Belin, a quarterback at Bearden, who will play defensive back this fall for Baptist.
“Sometimes it’s hard to sell people on what’s in their own back yard,” Wilson said. “Once we get Central Arkansas kids to learn they can come here to get their associate’s degree, play football and then get re-recruited, we’re going to another level.”