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 a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year three times.
Razorback Report: Freshman LB not on 105
Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. talks to players during warmups prior to practice Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Freshman linebacker Josh Paul is not on the 105-man roster for the Arkansas Razorbacks after going through the second summer session on campus Coach Bret Bielema said Thursday.
Bielema said he removed Paul in the last 24 hours before Thursday's start of training camp for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and put sophomore linebacker Terrell Collins in his place.
"He's fully qualified ... can join us at some point," Bielema said. "We just need him to focus on academics and just doing things a little bit better.
"Again, no issues, nothing ... other than the expectations in our program to do them a little bit better."
Paul is a 6-2, 195-pounder from Kenner, La. Collins, a transfer from Iowa Western Community College, is 6-0, 240 pounds and hails from St. Louis.
In another personnel move, redshirt freshman Dylan Hays from Little Rock Christian, has moved from the offensive line to defensive tackle. Hays, a 6-3, 298-pounder, took third-team reps at nose tackle behind Bijhon Jackson and Austin Capps.
Bielema said the move allowed redshirt freshman Jonathan Marshall to take more reps at end, rather than tackle.
"I've just been very, very impressed with him since he got here," Bielema said of Hays. "Just the tenacity he plays with, the effort, the energy.
"We're a little bit thin on the D-line, especially as we get closer to the center. It does two things. First, it gives us an opportunity to get Dylan on the field or the opportunity for him to show us that. And [it] also allow us to rep Jonathan Marshall a little bit at defensive end.
First-year Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads was ranked No. 17 by Athlon Sports in its top 30 FBS coordinator hires in the offseason.
Several coaches with ties to Arkansas and the SEC made the list. Among them, former Arkansas linebackers coach Randy Shannon's promotion to defensive coordinator at Florida was ranked No. 18, and former Arkansas offensive line coach Mike Summers' hiring by Bobby Petrino as co-offensive coordinator at Louisville was ranked No. 27.
Former Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith's hiring at Minnesota did not make the top 30.
Athlon's top five were, in order, Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson co-offensive coordinators at Ohio State; Todd Orlando defensive coordinator at Texas; Jim Leavitt defensive coordinator at Oregon; Mike Elko defensive coordinator at Notre Dame; Beau Baldwin offensive coordinator at Cal.
Arkansas' offensive and defensive linemen are wearing extra padding -- a webbed red cushion -- on the outside of their helmets.
Bret Bielema said the padding should help protect players who have frequent collisions in practice.
"If they don't want to wear them they can opt out of them, but we wold rather have them on them," Bielema said. "I watched Clemson practice in the spring last year and their entire O-line and D-line had those on. It's something that has continued to grow in the world of college football and I think it's something that is really positive."
Bret Bielema said freshman safety Montaric Brown is close to competing the necessary work to become academically eligible.
"I literally have a daily dialogue with him," Bielema said. "He's taking a class that I believe finishes up next Friday. All of the qualifying test scores and everything are in, so it's literally waiting for this class to get done. It'll be about how fast it turns around."
Bielema said the earliest Brown probably will be able to practice is mid-August.
Merrick at guard
Jalen Merrick worked at second-team right guard after closing spring practice at second-team right tackle.
"That probably stems more out of just trying to get our better players on the field," Bret Bielema said. "He likes the right side a lot better than the left, and he likes guard a little bit more.
"The thing about Jalen, he's in the third year of our program, but he really only had I believe two years of high school football overall, so he's still a young player.
"I get excited about him. He does a lot of really good things. We've just got to get him to buy in full scale."
The first-team defense for the early periods of Thursday's workout featured four seniors: nose tackle Bijhon Jackson, "Hog" linebacker Karl Roesler, safety De'Andre Coley and cornerback Henre Toliver. The unit featured 4 juniors in linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Randy Ramsey, cornerback Ryan Pulley and safety Santos Ramirez, and 3 sophomores in defensive ends McTelvin Agim and T.J. Smith and linebacker De'Jon Harris.
The jersey numbers -- in order -- of some of the newcomers who did not participate in spring drills: 1 Chevin Calloway, 2 Kamren Curl, 2 Chase Hayden, 3 Koilan Jackson, 6 Gabe Richardson, 9 De'Vion Warren, 14 Maleek Barkley, 18 Jeremy Patton, 24 Jarques McClellion, 27 Hayden Henry, 32 Jordon Curtis, 33 David Wiliams, 44 Josh Paul, 71 David Porter, 81 Jarrod Barnes, 82 Gary Cross, 83 De'Shawn Gulledge. Blue-chip safety signee Montaric Brown from Ashdown has been assigned jersey No. 21.
Hogs No. 29
In Athlon Sports' preseason rankings of all 130 FBS teams, Arkansas was at No. 29, which was seventh among SEC teams.
The rankings of Arkansas' 2017 opponents: No. 1 Alabama, No. 9 Auburn, No. 11 LSU, No. 30 Mississippi State, No. 32 TCU, No. 37 Texas A&M, No. 40 South Carolina, No. 46 Ole Miss, No. 55 Missouri, No. 124 Coastal Carolina, and No. 125 New Mexico State. Florida A&M, the Razorbacks' season-opening opponent, plays in the FCS.
Athlon Sports also ranked Bret Bielema as the No. 5 coach in the SEC, behind Alabama's Nick Saban, Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, Florida's Jim McElwain and Auburn's Gus Malzahn.
VegasInsider.com lists the odds for Arkansas to win the SEC at 50 to 1. The Hogs stand alone in eighth position at that spot, behind Alabama (4 to 7), LSU (25 to 4), Auburn (6 to 1), Georgia (8 to 1), Florida (9 to 1), Tennessee (18 to 1) and Texas A&M (40 to 1). Arkansas is a better bet, according to the website, than South Carolina (66 to 1), Kentucky and Mississippi State (80 to 1), Missouri and Ole Miss (100 to 1) and Vanderbilt (150 to 1).
The Razorbacks were not listed among 35 teams with odds to win the College Football Playoff championship. The group of 35 teams was led by the top five of Alabama (3 to 1), Ohio State and USC (15 to 2), Florida State (8 to 1) and Oklahoma (10 to 1).
Sports on 07/28/2017
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