UWA aims to keep winning streak alive

by dentonramsey

UWA aims to keep winning streak alive

 

The University of West Alabama Tigers are fresh off a 24-23 victory and are looking for win number two as they go up against Arkansas Tech on Saturday afternoon in Livingston.

Head coach Sam McCorkle is proud of his team and hopes the success will continue.

“The first thing we have to focus on is that we have to take better care of the ball,” McCorkle said. “We laid the ball on the ground too many times and we had two turnovers at Monticello that turned into 14 points for them. And with a great team like Arkansas Tech, you can’t afford to turn the football over and have a chance to win the game.”

As far as key players from last week’s win, McCorkle said there were many players that had key roles in the victory.

“I’ll tell you who doesn’t get much credit,” McCorkle said. “When you rush the ball for over 300 yards, the offensive line had to do a heck of a job. I’d say Jon Cooper, Carlos Montgomery, Lee Turner, Erik Lee, and Eddie McCrory all did a really good job. And of course we had two guys [who rushed the ball well] with Jerin Wright who just missed 100 yards by three yards and Marcus Ross had 134 yards.

“Randall Jones had a great game defensively. He intercepted a pass and set up a field goal and had 14 tackles and I think he did a good job. As did Zeb Ellison. I think all those guys back there, Kelvin Vann and Richard Bevil, Stoney Pritchett and Demetrius Simpson did a good job in secondary because Monticello really had a top-ranked passing team in the conference and our guys did a good job against them.”

 

McCorkle says his team’s greatest strength is that the team as a whole cares about each other.

“Hopefully we haven’t found our greatest strength yet,” McCorkle said. “Hopefully we’re just starting to grow and everything. I think the guys want to battle for each other and want to fight for each other. And for a team that lost 11 games in a row and gives up two touchdowns in a 51 second period on turnovers and doesn’t fold and keeps fighting, there has to be something said about the attitude, the spirit and the desire we have. I’d say that’s probably our best strength right now.”

After viewing the tapes of Arkansas Tech, there greatest strength is the ability to control the game on both sides of the ball.

“There’s a lot of things to focus on because I think they [Arkansas Tech] are a great football team,” McCorkle said. “I believe they are ranked number 19 in the nation and they probably should be better than that with a record of 3-0. They are averaging 42 points a game and they’ve got an outstanding quarterback that transferred in there from a California junior college. Their QB is a really accurate passer, he really does things well and doesn’t make mistakes, and he’s the type of guy that wins games for you.

“And I think that’s a trademark of Arkansas Tech. They are also really well coached. Year in and year out they are on of the best-coached teams in this conference. They don’t have many penalties, they don’t make mistakes, and they are averaging about four turnovers plus in the turnover ratio in their first three games. They take the ball away from you and they keep it pretty good themselves.”

Saturday’s game will be one of the toughest challenges this season for the Tigers football team.

“I think Arkansas Tech has an outstanding football team and it’s a big challenge for us to continue on and improve this week and see what we can do against another good team,” McCorkle said.

Another key factor in last week’s UWA win over Arkansas-Monticello was the special teams.

“I think the special teams at Monticello was the probably difference in the game,” McCorkle said. “I thought our punter, B.J. King, did a super job. He averaged 42.8 yards per punt and out of five punts, he put four of them inside the 20. So that really established field position and that was big in a close game like that.

“Tonya Butler, who kicked a field goal and kicked in all three extra points in a 24-23 game with their kicker missing a field goal and an extra point, played great. I think B.J. King and Tonya Butler were both huge pluses. Of course if they kick it, you’ve got to have someone snap it to them, and Joe DeFamous and Paul Hurton did a good job with the snaps. And special teams was a big plus for us.”

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