Conque tells Bearbackers he believes in his team

While saying that he was “frustrated, disappointed and at time times borderline embarrassed,” UCA head football coach Clint Conque also told supporters at the weekly Bearbackers luncheon on Monday, “I still believe in these young men and the things we’ve established here.

“It is extremely important that you continue to support these young men,” Conque told the large gathering in the Hall of Fame Room at the stadium. “Yell at me; I’ve got broad shoulders, plus two ear pieces, so I can’t hear you.

“They’re trying to do things right,” Conque said of his team which has dropped three straight Gulf South Conference games, ironically to former longtime Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference foes of the Bears. He added, “I think our effort (against UAM) was there for the most part. We just didn’t execute to get it done.”

The fourth-year head coach said he was now taking the approach just for the team “to get better. You can accept losses in some degree if you play well and play consistently,” but he added, “The Bears have been unable to put 60 minutes together all year.”

The Bears stay home and also stay in the old AIC this week by hosting Southern Arkansas University. Kickoff is 6 p.m. on Saturday at Estes Stadium.

SAU, like the Bears, was ranked high in preseason polls but has since fallen out of the Top 25 after successive losses to Valdosta and North Alabama.

The game is the first of three killers in a row. Following SAU, the Bears hit the road for successive games at Valdosta and North Alabama.

“I realize we’re looking at the barrel of a triple-barrel shotgun,” Conque said, “but we’re not backing away from it.” He said the 3-2 Muleriders are led by All-American wide out Nik Lewis and veteran quarterback Ted Williams.

Players of the Week for the Bears are Michael Norvell on offense; true freshman Dwayne Lockhart of Beebe; and Garrick Morgan on special teams with All American punter nominee John Newberry getting special attention.

Saturday is Family Day at the stadium. Also special guests on Saturday will be Conway city employees and their families. Mayor Tab Townsell was a special guest at the luncheon Monday.

The Bearbackers meet each Monday. Lunch is available for $7.

-Tommy Jackson