A team that 'Bears' watching


POSTED: Monday, August 24, 2009

All transitions should be so rough.

It's been three years since Central Arkansas graduated from Division II in moving up to the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) and joining the Southland Conference.

All the Bears have done since then is go 24-10, finishing atop the Southland last year at 10-2 with a 6-1 league mark. But since they're still considered in the transition phase, the Bears weren't eligible for the postseason though they were ranked 12th in two FCS polls to close the season.

; Head coach Clint Conque's team lost all-conference quarterback Nathan Brown, but added Arkansas transfer Nathan Dick in the spring. Dick, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, started the Razorbacks' last two games last season, passing for 454 yards and four touchdowns before heading to UCA.

The Bears had the third highest-scoring offense in the nation last season, averaging 37.5 points.


At 6-foot-1, 248 pounds, defensive end Larry Hart isn't exactly huge. But he brings an imposing presence to the Bears' defensive front. The reigning Southland Defensive Player of the Year, Hart dropped quarterbacks 21 times last season for losses totaling 96 yards. Linebacker James Lancaster had 11 sacks among his 62 tackles.


Depth is usually an issue for FCS programs compared to their FBS counterparts and the Bears have new coordinators on both sides of the ball.

The offense lost two FCS All-Americans off last year's team and three starters on the offensive line. Among the returnees is 6-foot-7, 324-pound tackle Lane Friewald.