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.
Williams filling role for Peters
Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon talks with reporters following the Arkansas Razorbacks' national signing day press conference at the Fred Smith Center in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Transfer linebacker Josh Williams' workload went up the past couple of days after the departure of junior Otha Peters.
Williams, a sophomore, is now second on the depth chart at middle linebacker behind sophomore Brooks Ellis.
"I've been studying a lot, so I feel a lot more comfortable with what I'm doing now," Williams said. "I've been watching more film and watching myself, watching others, like Brooks Ellis, because you know he's been here, he's experienced. What he does, I watch, ask questions and I make it happen."
Linebackers coach Randy Shannon said Tuesday was Williams' best work day yet.
"He's fitting the run game pretty good, but the passing game today he really, really showed improvement," Shannon said.
Defensive coordinator Robb Smith said Peters' leaving triggered a "next man up" philosophy, giving the newcomers Williams and freshman Khalia Hackett more playing time.
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said he let his coaching staff know he was pleased with their role in the Hogs' improved play during Saturday's first scrimmage,
"I grabbed my coaches yesterday -- it sounds like a small thing -- ... but I wanted them to know that the changes that I saw on that film and in that stadium didn't just happen by chance," Bielema said. "I know the players did it and we sell that on a daily basis, but our coaches made that happen."
Sophomore defensive lineman Taiwan Johnson isn't being asked to lose weight, like some of his teammates, especially after being moved from nose guard.
"I pretty much have the green light," said Johnson, who weighs 262 pounds. "I like to eat. ... I just have to keep doing what I do because it is physical and my body has to be able to hold up in there."
Join the 105
Fullback Chris Jones, a 5-11, 241-pound redshirt freshman walk-on from DeQueen, was added to the Hogs' 105-man roster on Tuesday to fill the vacancy left by linebacker Otha Peters' departure on Monday.
Coach Bret Bielema said Sunday the Hogs were lacking a big, physical blocker in the Kiero Small mode at fullback and the coaches were going to try different players at the position currently being manned by Kody Walker, Tyler Colquitt (who is missing time with a concussion) and the tight ends in some formations.
Linebackers coach Randy Shannon said his position players missed two tackles in Saturday's 92-play scrimmage.
"That's good for a first scrimmage," Shannon said. "That's even with the younger guys in the game. We chased the ball a lot better ... and the mental mistakes were cut down a lot from last year."
He did it
Matt Emrich, the holder for place kicks, handled the electric razor as the kicking group teamed up to shave an "Avatar" arrow into the hair of willing kicker Cole Hedlund.
"I just kind of free-handed it," said Emrich, who was inspired by the Washington Redskins' sideways Mohawk applied to former Hogs kicker Zach Hocker.
"We all saw Zach's haircut and we were just talking about it, not like actually meaning to do it, and he [Hedlund] was just like all for it, so we did it."
Hedlund kept the style for two days before shaving it off.
Tackle Brey Cook posted to YouTube a video presentation, overdubbed with music, of his experience from SEC media days, which he recorded on a mini GoPro camera. The video can be found by searching "SECMD14 by Brey Cook" on youtube.
"It's sweet," Cook said on the team's media day on Sunday. "You'll love it. I promise. A lot of the guys have seen it."
The video, which lasts three minutes, 16 seconds, includes segments on Cook putting on his suit and bow tie in the Arkansas locker room, snippets of his jet ride to Birmingham, Ala., with teammates Trey Flowers and Alan Turner and Coach Bret Bielema, and scenes from his three hours worth of interviewing while at the annual gathering.
Running back Alex Collins sounded like he was working for the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce during Arkansas' media day.
"The more I stay here, the more I want to be here," Collins said. "It's just the environment, the people, the atmosphere, the fans and everything. It's a gorgeous place.
"I would love to retire here some time in the future because it's just absolutely beautiful. It's so welcoming here."
Hogs' No. 14
Arkansas finished No. 14 in the last fiscal year for royalties generated by the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) for officially licensed products.
Arkansas produced more than $3.5 million in gross royalties from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 to finish in the top 15 for the third consecutive year.
A UA release stated the revenues support the school's women's sports programs.
Shedding a few
Linebacker Josh Williams, a recent transfer from Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, said he reported to the Arkansas campus at 240 pounds and has lost five pounds in his quest to reach 230.
"I was at 240, which I felt great at, and I had that punch to me," said Williams, who has four years to play three as a full qualifier out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Dillard. "But now I feel like I want to be able to play a whole game, not five plays and I'm winded."
Sports on 08/13/2014