CONWAY, Ark. — Central Arkansas is counting down the days until they’re back on the stripes. When the Bears open the season at home against Missouri State on September 1st, fans will see a different team than they’re accustomed to.

“We got 43 new faces on our team right now so that’s a huge number at the Division 1 level,” head coach Nathan Brown said. “We got new energy, we got a bunch of guys who are hungry, a bunch of guys who have been a part of big-time programs in different parts of the country.”

Nick Walters visited fall camp on Wednesday to catch up with Coach Brown and first-year starting quarterback Will McElvain, a transfer from Northern Iowa. A dual-threat with his arm and his legs, McElvain takes over for 3-year starter Breylin Smith.

“Will is a a guy who started a lot of games in the Missouri Valley Conference,” Brown said. “He was the freshman of the year in that conference in 2019. Not only does he have all the physical attributes, but he can make all the throws and has a great ability to run the football.”

Also without productive wide receiver tandem Tyler Hudson and Lujuan Winningham, the Bears field a team with less experience playing for UCA. But coaches and players are confident that they have well enough talent to compete for a conference title in the ASUN’s inaugural season.

“I think we’re a super talented team,” McElvain said. “We’re deep in a lot of positions and I think we’re a close team, that’s super important… I think it’s one of the best running back rooms in the FCS if not the best.”

2021 ASUN freshman of the year, running back Darius Hale leads a ground attack that will be one to watch for this fall. See Nick’s story to hear more about how UCA is shaping up ahead of the season.