BUCS Going For Gold Again

Head Coach Jason Scott is creating somewhat of a dynasty over at the University of Nottingham, his BUCS Gold side heading into Tuesday’s battle with the UWE (University of West England) Bullets, for the National Championship.

He’s not averse to winning championships either, is Scott, both as a player, and as a coach; in fact, during his five years in what he describes as being “a hotbed of American Football,” his sides have lifted four championships already.

In 2018 he led the University to promotion, lifting the Division One championship, following it up with three, Premier Division North Conference titles (2019, 2022, and 2023); now though, heading back to the big one, it’s the UWE Bullets, for the second season in a row, that stand in the Gold Team’s way of glory.

It’s the third time in four seasons that the flagship university outfit, who play out of the David Ross Sports Village, have topped their division, and have done so whilst overcoming the loss of one of their own, Stephen ‘Beef’ Brittle.

“Last season, it was an emotional one, because of losing Beef,” explained the University of Nottingham’s HC, Jason Scott.

“But, right here, right now, we’re turning the county into a hotbed of American Football.

“He’s always with us though, as is his wife; yes, it’s challenging, but he’s omnipresent.”

Split into North and South Conferences, the BUCS competition, irrespective of sport, is as hard-fought as anything within the sporting world, and the game of American Football, as much so.

There’s challenges along the way, like in other sports, postponements due to the changing weather conditions perhaps the main one and, with such a short season to move through, it does make it that little bit harder.

Being a sport, within the confines of an academic setting, means that training, and game-time, can, more often than not, be limited, individuals’ studies of obvious, and paramount importance; the University of Nottingham, they have their athletes training twice a week, and then a match day,  weather permitting of course.

“All of our student athletes have to maintain their academic standings, as well as balancing that with their athletics,” explained Jason.

“The majority are here for three years, so we just have to make sure that we give them the best time whilst they are.

“However, we’re also coaching individuals to succeed in life, both personally, and professionally, give them a platform in which to build on, and with high integrity.”

Among the athletes to have gone on to succeed in the professional game, Ayo Oyelola, who ended up in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, just last year; that alone showing that, if you apply yourself, to both your studies, and your sport, you can succeed in life.

There’s certainly players, in the current crop of athletes, whom Scott, and his coaching staff, believe can go on to bigger things in the game.

In heading into the first round, this season, the Uni of Nottingham Gold, faced, and put to the sword, the UEA Pirates (University of East Anglia). That was a 79-0 whitewash, the Gold team having scored in all three phases.

Whilst in the recent, semi-final outing, SGS (South Gloucestershire & Stroud) Filton Pride were defeated 28-6, setting up a second, successive national championship date, against UWE Bullets.

“It’s been a good, but challenging season,” added Scott.

“Hard to gain momentum, especially a quick-fire run of games over the past few months.

“Yes, it’s been an interesting journey, and because of that, they’ve certainly grown as a team.

“When you look at how the Premier is set-up, it’s about the seedings, and yes, the temperature is turned up, but we’re used to it and it’s just another game.

“The UEA game, it was a record result for us, and it was a real team performance.

“We were hot, riding the crest of a wave, and we couldn’t help the plays in which we were making.

“However, we did make some uncharacteristic mistakes, against SGS, they asked questions of us, but we had enough.

“On Tuesday though (against UWE Bullets), we’ll compete, and there’ll be continued focus, so, who knows.

“We just need to dig deep, when the going gets tough, to block and tackle better, and then we can do something.”

A fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, thanks to a room-mate when in Canada, Scott has experienced the game of Gridiron, on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as coaching, alongside his university duties, the GB Lions.

Clubs like the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Tamworth Phoenix, and Loughborough University, have benefitted from his experience, know-how, he also learning a thing or two from them as well.

But, like most Brits, there’s a certain point we all go back to, when America’s Game was thrust into our hearts, souls, and living rooms.

“I grew up in the 1980s, watching American Football on television,” admitted Scott.

“And it just went from there; I earned a scholarship in Canada (Stansted College, Quebec), came back home, before returning to America to coach, first at Endicott College (Massachusetts), then at Mississippi State.

“I’m a firm believer that, if you want to be the best version of you, then you have to challenge yourself, and, with me, I’ve a deep amount of experience from within the game.”

That much, it’s obvious, Coach Scott heading into what’ll be his sixth, national championship game this week, although he does admit that, although not distracted by, the upcoming GB games, “are on the side, somewhere.

“But, it’s a team game, and we share the load.

“I’ve got great coaches around me, both at the university, and with the national team.

“The coaching staff that we have, it’s phenomenal, it really is.

“The success though, that’s been no accident; we’ve got great facilities, great staff, and players that are among the best in the country.”

The David Ross Sports Village plays host to the BUCS National Championship final on Tuesday 21 March, 19:00, between University of Nottingham, and UWE Bullets; you can keep up-to-date with everything Gold (and Green) via their socials on Facebook and Twitter.

The national championship will also be live-streamed HERE.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @UoNSport Nottingham University BUCS Gold in action this season.

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