Trio's 5 a.m. workout the latest show of offseason accountability

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Arkansas NCAA college football player Kevin Richardson II speaks during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering, Monday, July 10, 2017, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Photo by Associated Press
Arkansas NCAA college football player Kevin Richardson II speaks during the Southeastern Conference's annual media gathering, Monday, July 10, 2017, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

— Quarterback Austin Allen, cornerback Kevin Richardson and center Frank Ragnow each woke up before the sun rose in the wee hours of Monday morning.

The trio had to head to Hoover to represent Arkansas with coach Bret Bielema at SEC Media Days, but their flight didn’t leave until a little after 8 a.m.

They woke up earlier than usual so they’d have time to squeeze in a 5 a.m. workout with strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert before heading to Drake Field for the flight.

“Got a nice little swole in with coach Herb and then we got dressed and hit the plane and came over here,” Richardson said.

The senior captains had a busy day in front of them serving as the faces of the program at the annual media day event, but were determined to get a workout in despite the day trip.

Accountability has been emphasized within the program this offseason after the Razorbacks closed 2016 by stumbling in the second half of losses to Missouri and Virginia Tech, blowing leads and failing to improve on the previous season’s record for the first time in Bielema’s tenure in Fayetteville.

“This is the first spring without anybody missing workouts, being late in practice, being late to meetings,” Richardson said. “We hold each other accountable. We hold each other to higher standards. That’s what we want to do as team captains, we want to hold everybody up and raise the bar to a new level.”

Allen, who threw for an SEC-best 3,430 yards as a first-year starter last season, is having to mesh with a mostly new cast of receivers. Senior Jared Cornelius is the only holdover who played a significant role last year, so Allen has responded accordingly this offseason while helping set the tone.

"We went into winter conditioning where we might think we're done, but we might run an extra four, five sprints," Allen said. "Especially this summer. It's a lot of player-led stuff, but we're getting as many 7-on-7's in as we can. Getting extra film work. We went back and watched the second half of the Missouri game, the Virginia Tech game.

"It just stings and really drives us this whole offseason. That was just embarrassing for us and is something that can't happen again this year."

The summer workouts without coaches present have been intense.

“We’re going 7-on-7 offense vs. defense, no coaches around,” Allen said. “But it looks like we’re on a fall camp practice with coaches all around. We’re trash talking. We’re competitive out there.”

The media’s preseason conference projections will be released Friday. Arkansas was picked fifth in the SEC West last year and finished tied for that spot. Alabama, LSU and Auburn are likely good bets to be picked ahead of the Razorbacks this year, while Texas A&M and Mississippi State may be, too.

Expectations have been discussed within the program.

“We have a new saying,” Richardson said. “We talk about raising the bar. We set the bar last year (and) it wasn’t exactly where we wanted it to be. Now we talk about raising that bar and carrying everybody to a higher standard.”

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.