There are only so many things you can learn about a team three practices in and before they even put full pads on, but there are some things.
Bret Bielema met with the media after practice today for the first time in camp. He'll give a longer press conference tomorrow during Media Day, but here's today's press conference. Highlights:
- Freshmen Derrick Graham and Jamario Bell have flipped positions. Bell is now a linebacker and Graham has moved to defensive end after too much weight too quickly. He's up to 262 pounds now. Bell was a relatively low profile 4* prospect because he committed so early, but he's a 6'5" 250-pound athletic freak and someone that size at linebacker is intriguing to say the least.
- Dominique Reed - nothing to stop the hype train so far. At one point we didn't know if he'd qualify academically, but he pulled in a 3.5 GPA in the summer session.
- Lots of good talk about true freshman cornerback Ryan Pulley, both in Bielema's press conference and in reports from earlier in the week. He was another early commit last year who wasn't talked about much during the recruiting process but seems to be making a name for himself pretty quickly. Bielema said he could be the team's #4 CB, after Jared Collins, D.J. Dean, and Henre' Toliver.
- Praise for the running backs (including Rawleigh Williams) and Keon Hatcher, as you would expect. Bielema seems to think many true freshmen will play. Always exciting.
- Duwop Mitchell is apparently doing well both at receiver and at Advocare. He even sells to Bielema. (Side note: I've often wondered why more NCAA athletes don't do more of these types of home sales side jobs. Seems like it would be an easy way for a shady booster to buy a bunch of kitchen knives/make-up/diet food/frozen steaks or whatever as a way to get a player a quick check. Not suggesting what Duwop is doing is shady at all, but generally speaking, seems like it would work well.)
- Bielema has banned frisbee golf because Adam McFain hurt himself. There's a sentence you don't see every day. Are we sure Bielema didn't mean ultimate frisbee? That's much more physical than frisbee golf. I can play frisbee golf. It's hard to hurt your leg doing that. Cole Hedlund is apparently doing well so far, though.
- Dan Enos is known as "The Camel" because he can go two hours without a pee break. Ok.
- Arkansas has added that "Uncommon" logo to their long-time Farm Bureau-sponsored backdrop.
Here's a report from Eric Bolin on the first day of camp, in which only a few offensive players spoke to the media. Not much news other than, again, Dominique Reed is really fast. It does also contain this little nugget from Brandon Allen on Dan Enos' offense:
“I think with this offensive system we can be more balanced,” Allen said. “I think we’re going to have a chance to keep defenses more honest and not be able to stack the box and make us be one-dimensional. So I think this offense is going to spread people out a little more against us and really take away that factor of them just putting nine guys in the box and stopping the run.”
Arkansas is once again doing the routine of alternating between offensive and defensive availability during the week. After Thursday opened with offensive players, defensive leaders met with the media on Friday. Otis Kirk offered this report on Hawgs247.