AP Photo
April 10, 2016

(STATS) - Having to replace many influential seniors from last season, Central Arkansas coach Steve Campbell says his team needed to be outstanding during spring practices.

The Bears' first-teamers looked the part Saturday when their Purple squad beat the Gray 52-7 in the annual spring-ending game at Estes Stadium in Conway.

"I was pleased with the Purple," said Campbell, who is in his third season. "I thought they executed well, were clean, didn't have a lot of penalties. The 1s didn't put the ball on the ground, and the 1 defense did a good job of creating turnovers, scooping and scoring."

Junior quarterback Hayden Hildebrand, who is No. 1 after splitting snaps last season, directed the Purple offense in the first half of the spring game. He was held out during the second half, when Kirk Baugh took many of the snaps.

Following the encouraging spring, there still figures to be a lot of competition during preseason camp this summer. Re-establishing the run game and the pass rush have been points of emphasis for the UCA coaches.

UCA, which finished last season with a 7-4 record - tying for second place in the Southland Conference at 7-2 - is replacing 25 seniors, including 18 on the two-deep at season's end. The Bears return 12 starters - five on offense and seven on defense.

They will open the 2016 season with a three-game homestand beginning against Houston Baptist in a Southland game Sept. 1.

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