FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas’ switch to the 3-4 defense means the Razorbacks’ outside linebackers are learning an entirely new position this spring.
The players are also adjusting to a new position coach — Chad Walker, who arrived in February from the Atlanta Falcons. Walker brings constant high energy and a passion for teaching, particularly in the 3-4 defense. He spoke with reporters on Thursday after practice. Here’s some of what he revealed about the state of Arkansas’ outside linebackers:
Q: How is it going teaching OLB?
A: “It’s a lot of fun. We’re having fun teaching. We’re all kind of learning this thing together, so it’s a lot of fun. We’re definitely experimenting with what guys can do. They’re growing. It’s a lot of fun to watch them develop.
“They’re taking the coaching from the classroom and they’re taking it to the field, so it’s great. We’re seeing steady improvement right now. We got past the lined-up stage to the let’s play fast, let’s strain, let’s play with the right leverage.”
Q: Is anybody in particular standing out?
A: “We’ll see. I haven’t gotten any live work where I can say definitely. But Randy Ramsey stands out with some of the things he can do. Whether it’s in space, whether it’s to play on the line of scrimmage, whether it’s to rush the passer. Michael Taylor with pass-rush ability. Dee Walker has the opportunity to play out in space. Alexy [Jean-Baptiste] can play up on a tight end plus he can drop into coverage and he can rush the passer along with Dee can rush the passer. So those guys have a lot of skills. Those guys have been doing a great job.”
Q: I read somewhere it takes a year to learn the 3-4. Do you believe that?
A: “No, I don’t believe that. I believe you can just learn football. It’s football. It might be a new technique. That’s just my own personal philosophy. I think guys can learn these things that you teach them.”
Q: So you don’t expect to see them still trying to figure it out this fall?
A: “I’m just worried about today right now. I’m just worried about getting our guys to play fast. Playing with the right leverage. Leveraging the football, using our hands and fundamentals.”