Clark blessed to get to play against tough defenders in MIAA – and not backing down

Central's Marquez Clark. Photo courtesy UCO Photographic Services.

From the outside, it may have seemed to be a quiet entrance for Marquez Clark when he transferred to the UCO football program in 2012.  He was redshirted and watched and waited through the season.

Clark made a lot of noise in 2013.Gradient1plusUCO

As a junior, the wide receiver put up impressive numbers on the field and put his personal stamp on the UCO record book.

Clark was one of a number of transfers that have been redshirted coming into the UCO program and have been built up to be ready to go when they hit the field.  It’s all a part of the plan for coach Nick Bobeck.

“We knew we were going to take some lumps (by redshirting athletes),” Bobeck said.  “We redshirted them for a reason.  We want guys that have been through our program and have been in our weight program.”

UCO has gone 2-8 in each of the first seasons since Bobeck arrived as the head coach.  But the payoff is starting to show.

Clark is just one example.  He was an All-MIAA and All-Region player last season and holds the school record for receptions and all-purpose yards in a single season.

He excelled on the field last season and the potential is there for him to exceed last year’s production.  With the loss of star running back Josh Birmingham to graduation, the senior receiver could be the focal point of the offense.

And Clark isn’t shying away from the opportunity or the work ahead of him.  At the MIAA Football Media Day press conference, he was asked about the toughness of the league and lining up each week against players that could be playing someday on Sundays.

Clark wasn’t fazed.

“It’s a blessing to play against those guys,” Clark said.  “But I don’t see it as too much of a tough task for me.

“I just keep the Lord the head of my life, and go out there and be with my teammates and play a hard-fought game.  It’s feels good to know that those guys get a chance to play on Sundays and I know if I do well against those guys, I might have that same chance.”

But Clark is on the radar now and the offense will definitely look and feel different this season with different pieces to the puzzles.  He solidly fielded the question about whether he and the Bronchos can continue to produce offensively.

“Yes, sir,” Clark said.  “Just having the faith and trust in the coaches that they’ll put the ball in the right players’ hands.  We’ll go out and do the same thing without Josh Birmingham.  Great player and we lost him.  But you know, we have to look to the future.

“We can’t dwell on the past and we’ll move to bigger and better things.”

The Bronchos begin their third season in MIAA play on Thursday, Sept. 4, at Fort Hays State.