Arkansas fans have witnessed blunder after blunder from the special teams unit over the past 5-8 years. It has been an embarrassment. Who could forget the punt return for touchdown by North Texas in 2018 that still gets plays on social media today? Or the clank off the goal post on the missed field goal against TCU in 2017? Or the potential game-winning field goal that was blocked by Mississippi State in 2015?
I almost feel sorry for reminding you all of those terrible, embarrassing moments. Yet, those moments are reality of where this program is. Where does it end? If Arkansas can start winning on special teams, they can give themselves a chance across the board.
New Special Teams Coordinator and Associate Head Coach Scott Fountain asks a lot of those playing on special teams. Senior Wide Receiver De’Vion Warren said on Tuesday, ‘Coach Fountain…he wants your all every rep, every play. He wants you to be able to play multiple positions in Special Teams.”
Warren has a lot of experience on special Teams, but this is the first time he’s had a coach strictly designated for the unit while at Arkansas. With weapons like Warren and Treylon Burks, Scott Fountain has a lot to work with as far as returners go.
When asked about Warren, Fountain said, “He is a smart kid. He picks up things quick…He’s a guy that help us in the return game and he’s a guy that can play some other spots for us.”
Just like Warren said, Fountain wants versatility. He expects players to move around. He wants to be able to plug and play.
Fountain said on Tuesday that his philosophy was to have some offensive and defensive starters playing “2 (special teams) units.” Using your best players in special teams can only mean good things. While asking some non-starters to play 4 specials teams units.
This new found emphasis on special teams is welcomed sight for all. Special teams has been tough to watch. A mistake or failure was almost expected. You could feel fans holding their breath on 4th down. I believe those days are no more. One of the safest bets for the 2020 Razorbacks is that this unit will be much improved. Given the depths the program has been in, fans are desperate to start winning somewhere on the field. Maybe special teams will be where that begins.