FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema released an updated version of his depth chart Monday morning, a couple days after the Razorbacks beat Louisiana Tech 21-20 to open the 2016 season.
Here are a few quick thoughts on the various changes — or non-changes — in this week’s depth chart. Arkansas travels to face No. 13 TCU on Saturday in a big non-conference clash.
No offensive line changes
The starters on the offensive line are exactly the same, something that I found a little surprising considering how much that unit appeared to struggle against Louisiana Tech. They did come together and block well on the game winning drive in the fourth quarter, but there were still problems throughout the game that raise some concerns moving forward.
“I’m excited where they’re at, and think they’ll have huge improvements game one to game two,” Bielema said Monday. “I was pretty pumped on Sunday when we watched the film actually.”
Ramirez in trouble?
This week’s depth chart includes an “OR” between sophomore Santos Ramirez and junior DeAndre Coley at the strong safety position. Ramirez seemed to struggle quite a bit in pass coverage against the Bulldogs, so it’s really not a huge surprise that he is at risk of losing his starting job.
It’s impossible to overstate how important those safeties are going to be against TCU’s high-powered spread attack this weekend.
“I think De’Andre Coley is a guy that has progressively gotten better since last spring,” said defensive coordinator Robb Smith. “When you have got opportunities on Saturday, I thought he did some good things in coverage … we want guys that play good football for us.
“We still think Santos is a heck of a football player and competition brings out the best in us and everybody.”
(Slight) receiver shuffle
Seniors Drew Morgan and Keon Hatcher have an “OR” between them at one wide receiver spot, while Hatcher and another senior — Dominique Reed — have the “OR” between them at the other receiver position.
What that pretty clearly says is that those three guys are going to be the top three receivers this weekend. Senior Cody Hollister was listed atop the depth chart last week, but he’s now third at the WR2 position. Hollister struggled with drops against Louisiana Tech.
Dean returns to the depth chart
Senior DJ Dean suited up for the Louisiana Tech game but didn’t play. He’s now listed as a No. 2 corner behind senior Jared Collins, replacing the injured Kevin Richardson II.
“He should be back with us,” Bielema said of Dean. “I know this will be a big one for him to get back home. So we lose one, but gain one that’s had a lot of experience and made a lot of big plays for us. Excited to have him back with us.”
Beanum resumes starting role
Junior defensive end Tevin Beanum missed most of fall camp but returned to the team just as classes began. He is now listed as the starter at one defensive end spot above Karl Roesler and Randy Ramsey.
Beanum didn’t start against Louisiana Tech, but came in for the second defensive series and seemed to be the No. 1 guy at his position from that point forward. It was likely only a matter of time before Beanum took back over that starting role.