It was easy to get excited for game day 12 months ago when Arkansas Tech was building toward a berth in the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs and one of the most successful football seasons in school history.
Now, with two games remaining in the 2010 season and the program facing its first losing overall record since 2003, Tech head coach Steve Mullins wants to know which members of his team he can count on moving forward. “As things are not going well, you look at the underclassmen and identify those guys who are continuing to fight,” said Mullins. “You look for the guys who are starting to show leadership ability, and on the flip side of that you look for the guys who are not. There’s an evaluation period with the guys who are returning for next year to see how they react to adversity.” Arkansas Tech (3-6 overall, 2-5 Gulf South Conference) will visit the Harding Bisons (4-4, 2-4) for a 2 p.m. GSC game at First Security Stadium in Searcy on Saturday, Nov. 6. Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will broadcast the game in the Arkansas River Valley.
The Wonder Boys saw their hopes of finishing above .500 end last Saturday with a 21-7 loss to nationally 10th-ranked Valdosta State.
Arkansas Tech led 7-6 after three quarters, but the Blazers converted two Wonder Boys’ turnovers into 15 points in the fourth quarter. Tech committed four turnovers in the loss, bringing its total for the season to 36. “Since the beginning of the season, we’ve put our defense in a difficult position because of our lack of execution on offense,” said Mullins. “Our defensive players have kept a good spirit about them. Our team leadership revolves around our defense. They’ve continued to do a good job, and hopefully that will continue against Harding.” The Bisons have utilized a triple option attack to lead the GSC in rushing (252.4 yards per game), while Arkansas Tech is tied with North Alabama for the top rushing defense in the conference (66.2 yards allowed per game). “Harding has improved every week this season,” said Mullins. “We have to be disciplined on defense. We have to be assignment strong and gap strong. Because of our style and speed we are able to run through many of our mistakes. We won’t be able to do that against the triple option. We have to be sound at the point of attack.” The game at Harding will mark the Wonder Boys’ final road contest and their final conference outing of the season. Arkansas Tech will conclude its 2010 football season by hosting Southwest Baptist on Saturday, Nov. 13. Kickoff for the non-conference game at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville is set for 2 p.m.]]>