Arkansas hung the Farm Bureau curtain over their impressive walls in the lobby of the FWS Football Center Sunday afternoon and it was time for Bret Bielema to address the full Arkansas media contingent.
A few players who didn't scrimmage on Saturday are cleared to play and will be full-go this week: Tevin Mitchel, Alex Collins, and Bijhon Jackson. Barring any problems this week, all three will be good to go for the public scrimmage on Saturday.
Grady Ollison is moving back to the defensive line, which is where he played in high school.
On Korliss Marshall being under-recruited "He was going to UCA. Nothing against them, but that's where he was going." He said "he was going to UCA" in the tone you might say "that beautiful puppy was living in a dumpster in a dark alley with rats, so I had to rescue him". Not a wholly inaccurate understanding of the situation.
Bielema was asked about Alex Collins' ability to break a long touchdown run since he did not last year and has gained weight this offseason: "I think with the weight he actually looks better. I think now with a year in our program and his lower body strength, I think he is very happy with how his body looks. I don’t know if he went to a faster 40 time or not but I think he is a more durable player."
He's liking Mitch Smothers at center as of right now. Luke Charpentier is the best backup right now but it sounds like he expects freshman Frank Ragnow to have that backup spot sooner rather than later. However, he did later let it slip that he was afraid the current depth at center is "very scary."
Bielema gave the best explanation of Hoganese he's probably given to date:
Football is very unique in the fact that I grew up in a junior high system and a high school system where I learned the junior high system and then, when I went to high school, it was another verbiage and language, even though in theory we were running the same offense and defense. I didn’t know I was going to be a coach at the time but I remember thinking that makes no sense. I go on to college and I have to learn another language and verbiage unique to the University of Iowa. I teach, I breathe, I live that from my playing career and my coaching career and then when Kirk Ferentz comes in we changed everything again. So even though we were doing a lot of the same things, we had to change the words and the terms and the language.
For example, the word rose. What does the word rose mean? It’s a flower, right? What color flower? It’s red. Most people say red but it could be red, white, yellow, whatever. There are all different kinds of roses. It can also be a woman’s name. Has anyone ever met a woman named Rose? So it’s one or the other. In our program when we are doing an action or a bootleg action to our right, it is called rose. The exact opposite of rose is a nice woman named Lisa. Rose is red or right or however you want to say it, we are going right. The exact same thing Rose is very good friends with Lisa except Lisa wants to go to the left. So instead of saying play action, hard sell to the left, we say Lisa and it gets all the words to mean one thing. So that’s just a little snapshot of what Hoganese is. I doubt if you walk up to anyone on the street and talk about a rose they are going to fake to the right and go to the left if they do then they were probably in our class. So that’s what Hoganese is in a nutshell.
So there you go. Don't go run off and share that with your Auburn friends.
Autonomy will allow strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert to do more "from a food standpoint." Bielema referenced "a team in the Big 12" who is planning on bringing in a food truck (it's Oklahoma) but Arkansas won't have to because that mystery team doesn't have the facilities Arkansas does. Or something like that. Important thing is Arkansas can do more with food and that's good for the team and for recruiting.
Bielema was asked about a high school player signing multiple Financial Aid Agreements because it broke last week that Will Gragg was planning on signing 6 FAAs (although he later decided not to). Bielema said he won't take an FAA unless he's positive the player will end up at Arkansas, which is why he accepted FAAs from Ty Storey and Zach Rogers. Accepting an FAA from a player who ends up not coming to your school leaves you open to NCAA penalty so schools will probably shy away from that.
They're putting JoJo Robinson behind Jared Cornelius on the depth chart at the slot receiver position this week to see what he can do there. If they feel like he can help, of course he'll play, but if not they can redshirt him. Same thing with Kendrick Edwards. I expect both will play this season.
In discussing player development, he mentioned Carroll Washington is now "the best corner on our team." He's gone from 162 pounds to 195. He's starting at corner along with Tevin Mitchel if the season started today. Look for Henre' Toliver to get playing time there as well.
Bielema announced Taiwan Johnson is now the team's starter at nose guard. He said "He took Denver Kirkland who is a tremendous pass blocker on a bull rush in the pocket and I think everyone was shocked." Bijhon Jackson is behind him right now. We'll see how that evolves throughout the fall.
On Demetrius Wilson's recovery:
"He put in a lot of really good work and changed some things that were going on in his life away from the game. That’s been a step in the right direction. He’s the senior in that room. He works really hard and is catching the ball really well. We’re only going to let him go once a day. He won’t do double days in practice. His knee has had a full recovery but we just don’t want it to become an issue. He’s doing extremely well in the classroom, as well."
And speaking of the classroom, Bielema made sure to tout the team's overall academic success. He said there were 260 total grades received over the summer and there were 92 As and 89 Bs. He said Jonathan Williams earned a 4.0 and "those weren't pottery classes."
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