Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Bielema: LB Peters to transfer
Arkansas freshman linebacker Otha Peters; photographed during practice on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville
FAYETTEVILLE -- Linebacker Otha Peters has decided to leave the Razorbacks after the first week of fall camp.
Coach Bret Bielema broke the news of Peters' move on his Twitter account, writing "Otha Peters has decided to transfer from Arkansas. We will assist with the process to find a new home moving forward. Wishing him the best!"
Peters, a three-game starter as a true freshman in 2012, battled injuries in 2013 when he totaled nine tackles, then changed his jersey number from 5 to 22 in an effort to change his luck.
Peters, a junior, played all three linebacker positions for the Razorbacks. He was at second-team middle linebacker behind sophomore Brooks Ellis during camp. He recorded 41 tackles, 2 hurries and 2 pass breakups during his Arkansas career.
"Nothing but love to the UofA from me but I must continue my playing career somewhere else! #WPS," Peters posted on his Twitter account after Bielema's tweet.
When Peters spoke to the media last Friday, he touted the Razorbacks' linebacking depth as much better than in 2013.
"From senior to freshman, I feel like everybody in that room can play," Peters said.
Coach Bret Bielema announced in a team meeting on Sunday that tight end AJ Derby and fifth-year kicker John Henson had been awarded scholarships.
The news was obviously big for the players and their families.
"I felt like I deserved it, and I was happy to get one," said Derby, who played quarterback last season.
He said his parents would be especially happy because they weren't having to write a check every semester.
Henson said receiving a scholarship was well received at home.
"I told my Mom and I couldn't hear for about 30 minutes," he said. "She let out a nice gasp and my dad was just pretty cool and collected about it."
Current Razorbacks who began their careers as walk-ons include fullback Patrick Arinze, deep snapper Alan D'Appollonio, defensive end Mitchell Loewen and tight end Alex Voelzke. Freshmen signees Tyler Colquitt and Jake Hall had agreed to come as walk-ons but were awarded scholarships prior to the start of fall camp.
The Arkansas defense held their counterparts out of the end zone on 3 of 4 two-minute possessions on Monday.
"We have a lot of work to do on that," said offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, who noted the two-minute work came at the end of practice when players are tired. "We're not where we need to be with the details of the 2-minute drill."
Quarterback Brandon Allen said it was the second time the Razorbacks have repped 2-minute work in camp.
"We weren't exactly on sync completely in the 2-minute drill," Allen said. "We have a lot of time to improve on that and get the signals in quicker, get people lined up faster, get the snap off faster."
Tailback Jonathan Williams is expected to miss a few practices while recovering from the tweaked hamstring he suffered in Saturday's scrimmage.
Defensive end Brandon Lewis had fluid drained from a swollen knee on Saturday, which will keep him limited for a time, allowing JaMichael Winston to battle Deatrich Wise at the end spot opposite Trey Flowers.
After holder Matt Emrich shaved freshman kicker Cole Hedlund's hair into a forward-facing arrow last week, Hedlund went ahead and shaved off the rest.
"I had it for about two days," Hedlund said of the look, which represented the Avatar of an animated series. "I just thought for media day, I should shave it off, maybe look a little more spiffy."
Hedlund said he didn't have a problem going along with the haircut, which was inspired when Arkansas' specialists saw that Washington Redskins veterans shaved the head of rookie kicker Zach Hocker, a former Razorback, into a sideways mohawk.
"They asked me if I wanted to do it, and I was like, 'Sure, I'll do it,' " Hedlund said. "It was definitely different. My hair is usually a little bit longer."
Hedlund was among those who posted Instagram video of the shaving.
"Matt did a pretty good job on it, honestly," Hedlund said. "It was a fun thing."
Some of the Louisiana-born players on the Arkansas roster got wind of Coach Bret Bielema's comments that the Razorbacks need to send more coaches to recruit in Louisiana because all of the team's players from the that area play football the right way.
"That makes me really proud of where I'm from," said senior guard Luke Charpentier, a native of Cut Off, La.
"Louisiana is a really big state per-capita for football players coming out. I've been telling them they need to recruit more guys from Louisiana for a long time. It takes this staff to realize it."
The Razorbacks have six players from Louisiana on their roster, including freshmen Jared Cornelius, Dwayne Eugene, Santos Ramirez and Henre' Toliver.
"Yeah, there's a whole lot of talent down there in Louisiana," said Toliver, a cornerback. "I think we're kind of overlooked when it comes to football, because everybody looks at Florida and Texas and stuff like that."
Drop a few
Transfer linebacker Josh Williams, 6-2, 240, who has taken snaps at middle linebacker behind Brooks Ellis, is on a program to drop between 5 and 10 pounds, Bret Bielema said.
Williams drew praise from coaches last week for knocking a couple of fullbacks backward during inside-run drills.
Freshman Henre' Toliver worked three series as a first-team cornerback in Saturday's scrimmage and had three tackles.
"When you get the opportunity to do something good, you've got to go shine and show what you can do," Toliver said. "I felt like I did good with the coverages and the scheme. At first it was a little overwhelming, but then I took it like I should be there."
Defensive backs coach Clay Jennings said with a couple of veterans out it was a good chance to get Toliver work with the starters.
"We were just looking for a little bit change of pace, just seeing if he was thrown into the fire, how would he react?" Jennings said. "I was very pleased."
Receiver Cody Hollister, 6-4, 208, a transfer from Arizona Western Community College, was none too pleased about going without a catch in Saturday's scrimmage.
"He was frustrated as heck after the scrimmage because he's like all receivers, they want the ball," said receivers coach Michael Smith, who noted Hollister was the primary target on a route in the end zone that was overthrown.
"As a wide receiver, you just want to make an impression, so it's not in a selfish way," Hollister said. "You just want to make an impression on your coaches and you guys and everything, so I just came out of it really disappointed I didn't make as much of an impression."
Bret Bielema included Hollister in a group of five "very good" receivers, along with Keon Hatcher, Demetrius Wilson, Drew Morgan and Jared Cornelius.
Sports on 08/12/2014