What Bret Bielema, coordinators said Wednesday

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Arkansas football head coach Bret Bielema talks Sunday Dec. 6, 2015 about the Razorbacks' invitation to attend the Liberty Bowl in Memphis playing against Kansas State. The hogs won five of their last six games to become bowl eligible.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Arkansas football head coach Bret Bielema talks Sunday Dec. 6, 2015 about the Razorbacks' invitation to attend the Liberty Bowl in Memphis playing against Kansas State. The hogs won five of their last six games to become bowl eligible.

— Follow along as Bret Bielema, Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads discuss fall camp.

Bret Bielema

— Got a phone call late last week and was able to stop by and see Frank Broyles and his family Saturday night. "Forever grateful for everything" Broyles has done. Only wishes he had gotten here when Broyles was in better health. Took Broyles to Wendy's on a good day one time and shared thoughts and ideas. Had a moment of silence Monday with the team. Staff will be there Saturday.

— Jared Cornelius can't come back until the start of school, but will join them Monday.

— Dre Greenlaw is 100 percent and fully involved. Scoota Harris, too.

— Have about 40 players going around NWA this morning job shadowing in different lines of work.

— Done full scrimmaging, but there'll be a lot of move-the-ball tomorrow. Going to get Cole Kelley and Ty Storey as many reps as they can because they need to identify the backup.

— Chase Hayden, Koilan Jackson and Jeremy Patton are offensive playmakers who will play. Ty Clary has a good chance to play. Kamren Curl, Chevin Calloway, Gabe Richardson and Hayden Henry have good chances to play.

— Deon Stewart has stood out the most. La'Michael Pettway has had a good week. Jordan Jones has made strides. If you ask the secondary, he's the guy they probably fear the most.

— Blake Johnson hit two 55-yarders with 4.5+ second hangtime to end practice with the team around him last night.

— Thinks they're ahead of schedule defensively. Offensively, continuing to develop continuity with offensive line.

— Primarily using Richardson as a Hog.

— Enos and Robb Smith went to a Fayetteville practice last year and were really impressed with Clary. He's blossomed in the weight room. Mom and dad did a great job.

— Told Mark Henry he liked No. 1, "but No. 2 is nice, too." Hayden is a little more theatrical than his older brother.

— When you're undersized, underrecruited and underdeveloped, that plays into not being recruited. There's also a sexy factor. Koilan Jackson would've been as highly rated as any prospect in the country if he was from Dallas. Projecting a player at a different position, like with Henry, plays a role. Not looking the type plays a role.

— Clary and Henry were ready to prove they belonged once they arrived on campus. High school coaches said Henry "works twice as hard" as Hunter.

— Knows that chip on shoulder feeling because he wasn't one of eight outside linebackers on the depth chart his first day of practice.

— Was making a travel roster working off a 70-man group. Wrote the 3 running backs as 1A, 1B and 1C. "Chase probably has the biggest ability to make something out of nothing." Devwah Whaley has the most experience. David Williams has shown good patience for being in a new system.

— Hayden has done good in pass pro. Was a multi-sport athlete and is a gifted learner. Pass pro is the hardest to gauge in practice because they haven't allowed them to cut block.

— Cornelius will want to return punts, but they'll have to see if he can. Henre' Toliver is next up. Maleek Barkley is a candidate. De'Vion Warren, Jackson, Hayden, Jones as potential kick returners. Jackson is more of a kick returner than punt returner.

— Friday will be a mock game in full pads, but there won't be any tackling. Will be in the new locker room (old visiting room) for the first time. Hog Pen is down there and band is supposed to be there.

— Will probably have the 70 they travel at home games and they'll have an auxiliary room where about 15 extra guys can dress.

— Likes when people grab him at events and tell him he runs the program like Broyles did. Wants to win like him.

— Won't do anything the family isn't comfortable with, but there are ideas of ways to honor Broyles this year. Mascots or sayings are in play.

— Austin Allen "has been outstanding." Have taken him out of every scrimmage early because he's performing so well. Only had 2 incomplete passes Tuesday and one was a drop. His leadership has been good.

— Going to have the backup QBs work with the starters to see how they look.

— Cantrell hits a wall when he gets fatigued, so they have to be cognizant of that. Likes the TE group. Cheyenne O'Grady is great when he's in the right frame of mind. Grayson Gunter makes strides. Jeremy Patton has made as much progress as anyone. Will Gragg has had an awesome camp and definitely belongs.

— Cole Hedlund has "been en fuego." He's 97 percent 40 yards and in during camp and had a 12-12 day the other day. Blake Johnson will be the punter and Connor Limpert the kickoff guy.

— Thinks the WRs on this team are faster than last year's group. Devwah Whaley is faster than Rawleigh Williams and Chase Hayden is faster than all of them. The TE's can run really well.

— Can't speed up the Montaric Brown process, but he's close. "I would love to have him here on Monday. I think that's a very real possibility."

— Brandon Martin had a back injury. Was limited Monday and full-go Tuesday. Don't have T.J. Hammonds or Cornelius out there. Those guys will probably be 2 of the top 4 out of 8 they'll travel.

Dan Enos

— Backup QBs have both been performing well. Ty Storey didn't throw a pick through 14 practices before having 2 Saturday. One wasn't on him. Has been consistent. Cole Kelley started out hot, had a couple lulls and has picked it up the last few days with some "big-time throws." Explosive plays, great arm strength. Going to put them in critical situations to try to establish separation and put pressure on them. Told both of them he likes how they've competed. They're making it real tough on him. Feels like both can help.

— Bielema will make the call on when they have to have the decision.

— When Allen is in, they function like a different team. His feet and decision making have been good. Has only thrown 1 pick this camp. Has played well on third down. Doing different cadences and checks at the line.

— Agrees with the 3 running backs being equal. Hayden has been good and made explosive plays. He can make 6-yard gains on plays that are blocked where he might get 1. Williams has been a nice addition. Runs hard and does a good job catching the ball and in protection. Whaley has a chance to be a very good player.

— Offense has made a lot of improvements.

— Jeremy Patton needs as many reps as he can get. The young WRs need more consistency. Hayden is still untested. Need reps for the backup QBs.

— Paul Ramirez and Ty Clary have stepped up on the second-team offensive line. Jalen Merrick has stepped up. Brian Wallace has been inconsistent and needs to step up. Jake Raulerson has been good. Colton Jackson has had one bad day but a really good camp. Put a lot of pressure on him after the bad practice, but he responded well. Frank Ragnow is playing at a high level and is on the same page as Allen.

— Ragnow makes things go. He identifies fronts and makes call. He studies the game and is a tough competitor. The more he's around the game, the more he wants guys like that with that edge. Sebastian Tretola and Dan Skipper had it too.

— Kendrick Jackson is having a great camp. He's playing fast, with power and intelligence. He's catching the ball well when they use him. Hayden Johnson's had his best camp. Much more comfortable than last year. Jackson has settled in after bouncing back and forth, which probably hurt his development.

— Camp has been competitive with the defense. Defense is playing hard and fast. Can see tweaks with alignments and coverages. Thinks they'll cause people problems.

Paul Rhoads

— Thinks the defense is on schedule. The installation before the first scrimmage was completely on track. Been able to stay on schedule since then, too. Still some things to get to, but pleased with the accountability the kids have shown since the spring.

— Britto Tutt has been brought back gradually after having swelling. Hasn't had a full allotment of reps. His legs are a little behind the others from a conditioning standpoint. Needs to move past that to display the speed and agility they need him to show. Need him to get there because they need him to help. Working on the left side. Working Curl and Calloway on the right. Wants to play left and right instead of field and boundary. Ryan Pulley on the left.

— Kevin Richardson, Josh Liddell and Micahh Smith are working at nickel.

— Liddell has played extremely well. Playing safety starts with the mental piece. Been very accountable. Still playing both safety spots. Better strong safety than free, but they need him to play both. They'll play multiple guys at safety. Who's starting hasn't been determined. Thinks Liddell and De'Andre Coley are both ready for a big senior season.

— Thinks there's a transition period when switching to the 3-4. They'll have to transition when teams start game planning and attacking them. Ideally, they want more length at the end position and they don't have much on campus. Wants Razor and Hog to be different types of bodies and they have a lot of the same type bodies playing both positions. Can be a more productive defense than a year ago if they play to their fundamentals.

— "I think the kids have said they're enjoying this defense, they're enjoying the scheme. I think that has led to us playing faster as a defense." You have 8 guys standing up, which generally means they're more athletic. Where they're deployed and the angles and edges help. Calloway, Curl and Gabe Richardson are guys who can help immediately. Hayden Henry has showed up because he's athletic and can do things in space.

— Curl's interception was a great catch, even more so because it came right after he was called for pass interference. He and Calloway are competitive kids and were ahead from a football knowledge standpoint of the other freshmen. Does like all the freshmen.

— Tutt has had speed when he's been fresh. Loses it a bit when he's tired. He's missed out on some needed training periods to gain strength because of the injury. If they were going to line the defensive backs up and have them pedal 5 yards and come back, he'd be second. Pulley would probably win.

— Dre Greenlaw needs a lot of reps from now until the opener because he's missed a lot and is behind on knowing the defense. Needs to get him reps so he can play to his speed.

— From the end of 2016 to now, Scoota Harris has made as much progress as anyone. Didn't play a lot of snaps last year and probably wasn't sure what he was doing. Now he's a leader and playing like an intelligent veteran.

— In the last 48 hours, Dee Walker's "light's burning a little brighter." Understanding it better so you're really seeing his speed. He's played fast linebacker the last couple days and been where he's supposed to be. Giovanni LaFrance is getting back up to speed, knowledge and physicality because of time he missed. Grant Morgan might be the smartest of the LBs and he needs to be because he's physically behind the rest.

— Koilan Jackson shows up. Noticed him early. More than a week ago, the defensive coaches were saying he was going to play for them. Distinguishing pieces for him and Curl are they're mature, smart, tough freshmen. Jackson makes tough catches and has physical stature.

— Likes the versatility Dwayne Eugene has at the OLB positions.

— Anyone who devoted as much time as Broyles did to one program and one state, "you can't measure what that meant to all the people he impacted. Rhoads' mother passed from Alzheimer's and Broyles' advocacy has been important to him.

— Want Walker to be bigger, but on time. Wants him to mature to about 225 naturally. "We want our guys playing fast. If he can play fast at 215, he can be effective."

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