Matt Jones has been the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2010. He is also a feature writer for Hawgs Illustrated magazine and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in journalism.
Wilson happy with new home
Tennessee Titans quarterback Tyler Wilson runs a drill during a NFL football minicamp on Monday, June 9, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
FAYETTEVILLE Following a game against the Titans last November, Tyler Wilson had an interesting exchange.
Wilson had been moved to the Raiders' active roster for the game but didn't play. Then-Titans offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, a former Arkansas quarterback himself, sought out Wilson afterward and gave him some news.
"You've got a coach with some Arkansas connections come up to you and say, 'Hey, if they drop you back down on the roster then you're coming to Tennessee,'" Wilson recalled. "It happened a couple of weeks later. It's kind of funny how that works sometimes in this business."
Tyler Wilson Football Camp
WHEN: July 7-9
WHERE: Greenwood High School
AGES: 4th through 12th grade
COST: $150 per athlete (exceptions might be made for families with more than one athlete)
NOTABLE: Wilson said multiple former Razorbacks will be on-hand at the camp, which will focus primarily on quarterback and wide receiver development. Patriots defensive end Jake Bequette has committed to help at the camp, but the rest of the counselors won't be revealed prior to its start.
"I just want it to be a group of kids from around the area where I grew up," Wilson said. "I want to give them some knowledge of what I've learned in the process and the opportunity to meet some of the really good players I've played with that they can learn from.
"I think working with kids gives you perspective of why you play the game and why it's fun."
Wilson quickly learned the business of football in his first NFL season. He fell to the Raiders in the fourth round of the draft and then failed to finish his rookie season in Oakland.
"You think when you're drafted that you're going to have a long career with the team that drafts you," Wilson said. "You buy in and hope that you can be there for a long, long time. I had a change early but I just tried to make the best of it and be all in with the team I was with. I think in professional football there is a lot of times where you just have to pack your stuff and go.
"I think the game is a roller coaster ride. You've got to live with the ups and downs. The game is hard, but it's so much fun. I think it really tests how much you love the game and what you love about it. The strong guys will push through it and I think it kind of tests who you are as a person. It's a great test of what's going to go on the rest of your life."
Adjusting is nothing new to the Greenwood native. He'll enter the 2014 season playing for his fifth coaching staff since his junior season with the Razorbacks ended in January 2012.
When asked about Wilson in an interview last month, Loggains - now quarterbacks coach of the Browns - said the lack of continuity was evident. Consistency is the key for Wilson to be successful again.
"He needs to be in one place, in one system for a little while," said Loggains during an interview on Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly. "He's very talented and a good thrower. You can move him around. The greatest trait that Tyler has is he's tough. He'll sit in the pocket and make throws under duress, and not flinch. He just needs stability. If he gets that then he's going to have a great opportunity to compete in Tennessee. He's as good a thrower as anyone on their roster. He just needs an opportunity."
Finding playing time won't be easy in Nashville. The Titans spent a first round pick on Jake Locker in 2011 and signed Charlie Whitehurst in the off-season.
Whitehurst spent the 2013 season with new Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt in San Diego. Whisenhunt named Whitehurst the team's No. 2 quarterback coming out of a minicamp earlier this week.
"Charlie is a good player and Jake is going to have a great opportunity, so I'll be competing with those guys in terms of playing," Wilson said. "I think my opportunity comes in preseason games and continuation of training camp. I think I've done a pretty good job with the reps and time I've gotten.
"I knew Charlie would have a little bit of a head start but I think I'm picking things up quickly."
Although he lost a confidant in Loggains, Wilson likes what his new coaches have brought to Tennessee. He said the numbers and play calls he has now are similar to the ones he had under Bobby Petrino at Arkansas.
"The base offense I'm familiar with…so I think it's a really good fit for me," Wilson said. "I think it's a perfect fit for what my skill set consists of.
"I think success results from continuity. When I had a coaching staff in place at Arkansas we had some success. Sometimes it's tough when you have a lot of change to become familiar and confident in what you're about and the system you're in. I'm excited with this staff being in its first year here and hopefully they'll be around a while, and hopefully I can ride it out with them and gain that continuity back."