The ACU Wildcat football team needs size on both sides of the ball as they move up to the Southland Conference this next season, but more importantly on the defensive side.
The ACU defense, known for their closing speed, understanding of the game and coachable players, needed one more element to their game: size. Like every program moving up to the next level, the team’s No. 1 priority is to add little more bulk and depth to their roster for their team to succeed.
The Southland Conference consists of many hard-hitting teams. Sam Houston State and North Dakota State are among those teams. The two met at the FCS national championship at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco. NDSU routed SHSU 39-13.
“We’ve know this, but watching North Dakota State and Sam Houston State just re-affirmed to me that we’d better have some guys who are big and who can run and hit, “Collums said.
With many acquisitions on the defensive side, many of them came from the secondary. D.J. Arnold (Wichita Falls Rider), Quinton Baker (Manor), and Quentin Bryant (Mart) signed their names on the dotted line Feb. 6, taking their talents to the purple and white.
“We had to establish some big guys up front, and we did that to a degree,” Collums said. “We also wanted to get some good athletes who can run and hit and were able to do that with Arnold, Baker and Bryant.”
Out of the 18 players acquired, three of them will be on the defensive front line. Josh Hailey (A&M Consolidated), Gabe Hernandez (Chapin) and Josh Mckinnies (Mayde Creek) average 6-2, 265 pounds.
Collums encourages them to redshirt during the 2013-2014 academic year, with the aim of playing their 2017 season competing in the Southland Conference post-season play.
Collums is optimistic as the team heads into spring training, because he has a good feeling more defensive players will make a decision to suit up as an ACU Wildcat.
“We missed out on a couple of guys that we went after pretty hard,” Collums said. “I would have liked to have signed one or two more guys, and I think we will still do that.”
The team is anxious to make a statement on Aug. 31 this year when they host Concordia College (Ala.).