If there have been two identifiable trends through the first four games of the 2021 Arkansas Tech University football season, they have been penalties that have negated big plays by the Wonder Boys’ offense and missed tackles by the Wonder Boys’ defense that have created big plays for their opposition.
As ATU prepares to visit another 0-4 team — Southern Nazarene University –- in Great American Conference action at Bethany, Okla., at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, head coach Kyle Shipp said the Wonder Boys have maintained their belief in themselves.
“Our guys are still confident,” said Shipp. “They know our record should be different. A lot of it goes back to pre-snap and post-snap penalties. Little things are what are beating us at this point. We have to be more disciplined, but there are seven games left and we still have an opportunity to have a good season.”
Southern Nazarene ranks fourth in the GAC in total defense (352.2 yards allowed per game). The Crimson Storm has recorded seven quarterback sacks, which is top five in the league.
“(SNU) is not the biggest team, but they have very physical kids who play with effort and enthusiasm,” said Shipp. “I’m very impressed with the way they play every single snap from the first one to the 60th one.”
Southern Nazarene quarterback Jarvis Davis established season highs for passing yardage (177) and rushing yardage (72) in the Crimson Storm’s 31-10 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma State University last week.
“Offensively, (SNU) does a lot of misdirection and screens you just don’t see, so it’s about being good with your eyes, knowing your calls, knowing your checks, knowing your formations and being physical at the point of attack,” said Shipp. “We have to tackle better, and we have to continue to grow defensively and offensively. We’re going to have some different guys get a chance to play this week because of some injuries, so we’re hoping some of those younger guys take advantage of the opportunity and show us what they can do.”
Pre-game coverage for the ATU-SNU contest on KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Talk to you on the radio.
Tech Tidbits is a column written by Sam Strasner, ATU director of university relations and radio play-by-play voice for ATU football and basketball.