Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions
Location: Pine Bluff, AR
Coach: Cedric Thomas (2-9), 2nd Year at UAPB
Stadium: Golden Lion Stadium (Capacity: 16,000)
2018 In A Sentence: Cedric Thomas, former Golden Lion player and defensive coordinator at Alcorn State, took as head coach of the UAPB program last year. The end results were similar as recent years – another 2-9 season – but there was some promise, as four of their losses were by a touchdown or less.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: It’s not common that you see a special team player in this space, but P/K Jamie Gillian wasn’t just any ordinary kicker. In 2018, the “Scottish Hammer” led the SWAC with an average of 42.9 yards per punt to rank 13th in FCS football with a net average of 37.5 yards. More than a fourth of his punts — 19 of 71 — traveled more than 50 yards, and 27 of his punts were downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Key Player: DE Jalen Steward had a great individual season last year on the Golden Lions defensive line, notching 16 tackles for loss and 7 sacks. A real disruptive force, he can be a player to build around on defense.
Fearless Prediction: With an easier overall schedule than last season, the Golden Lions can reasonably hope to improve from last season’s 2-8 record. Whether they can improve significantly from that will depend on whether coach Thomas can shore up the defense enough to keep UAPB opponents out of the end zone.
Chuck has been writing about Lehigh football since the dawn of the internet, or perhaps it only seems like it. He’s executive editor of the College Sports Journal and has also written a book, The Rivalry: How Two Schools Started the Most Played College Football Series.
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