Arkansas football will go 12-0 next season, because why not?
With your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points. There is no place like it on the Web.
The best thing about Arkansas spring football practice — no matter where you’re rooting or for what team you’re cheering — are the rainbows and sunshine.
No, not the weather. I’m talking about the ever-prevailing belief that everything is good. Not just good. Great. Grand. Wonderful.
Everyone gained/lost the amount of weight required.
New faces are integrating with ease.
No one was late or missed a workout.
To be fair, every team is currently without a loss in March and through to April. Positivity should be the name of the game. And it definitely was Monday during Arkansas coach Bret Bielema’s spring-opening press conference.
Bielema said, yes, he had the best offseason of tardiness (or worst offseason of tardiness?) since he’s been at Arkansas when it comes to players showing up on time for conditioning. Also, his new coaches, John Scott Jr. and Chad Walker, are excellent recruiters, and combined with the holdovers, Bielema has the best recruiting staff he’s ever had.
Yes, let the pumping begin.
It’s fine, really. They all do it. This time last year it was more about player personnel. We all heard how great the defensive line was and how great the offensive line could be. That didn’t really turn out, of course, so you’ll have to pardon my incredulity in buying such things this year.
But we haven’t seen anything yet. That comes Tuesday. Spring practice officially opens today, Tuesday, on the fields outside the Fred W. Smith Football Center.
If nothing else, that in and of itself is something to be legitimately happy about.
Hogs lose two players from football roster
There are always going to be a couple.
Every offseason sees some attrition. With Arkansas being overloaded on scholarships, according to our Trent Shadid, it’s almost going to be necessary that someone else leaves before long, too, to get the team down to the requisite 85 players.
The first two to exit were tight end Anthony Antwine and wide receiver D’Vone McClure. Antwine is an ex-walk-on awarded a scholarship just in the last year or so. He has 1 career catch in 31 games. McClure is a former professional baseball player who thought he’d give college football a go after his career on the diamond ended. The oldest on the team even last season, Bielema said McClure cited burnout as one reason he decided to hang it up.
Neither player is especially a big loss, although McClure did have some potential being just a sophomore. But he wasn’t likely to crack the deep rotation at wideout this season and Antwine was about the same with the depth at tight end.
Expect a few more changes by summertime.
With three new defensive coaches, or, rather, three coaches in new spots on the defense, Bielema opted to kind of start from scratch. The team’s move to the 3-4 and the shift of Paul Rhoads to defensive coordinator allowed Bielema to change his verbiage in “Hoganese,” the team’s jargon.
Bielema anticipates two inside linebackers and then two different types of outside defenders. One will be a Razor. One will be a Hog.
The Razor position is a linebacker/safety build. The Hog position is a linebacker/defensive end build. Bielema said he will continue to use “Will” and “Mike” when talking about the two middle defenders among the linebackers. “Sam” appears to be scrapped.
Who plays these positions comes next. We might get an idea of the first-team players later this week, though probably not as quickly as Tuesday.
Ranked again and it feels so good
Sitting at 5-1 through two SEC weekends and atop the West, Arkansas finally earned its national stripes across the country.
The Diamond Hogs are now ranked in Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and D1Baseball.com. Arkansas is highest at No. 17 in Collegiate Baseball’s poll. That’s up from 29th. Baseball America has Arkansas at 21st and D1Baseball has the Razorbacks at 20th.
Arkansas could keep climbing, too. Coach Dave Van Horn’s team (20-5 overall) heads to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this weekend for a three-game set against Alabama, which is just 1-5 in the SEC. Even if a series win against the Crimson Tide doesn’t raise Arkansas’ ranking, it’d go a long way in keeping the Razorbacks on top in the SEC West.
- The 3-4 is big and important and all, but I’m not buying it’s the most important thing Arkansas has changed this offseason. I’m looking at the offensive line, myself. Here’s why.
- If you’re interested in reading more about Bielema’s greatest-ever recruiting staff, Dudley Dawson at WholeHogSports has you covered.
- A 4-star O-lineman recruit has Arkansas in his top 5, writes our Trent Shadid.
Yee-Haw! Today in Arkansas
Apparently people still carry cash.
I mean, all these robberies I read about in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, including this one, and folks are almost always robbed of money. I didn’t realize a majority of people still carried money, especially the amount from this gentleman, who was robbed of $400 outside a Mexican restaurant in Little Rock.
Not blaming the victim, just wondering: Dog, what are you doing with that kind of cash going out to eat?
Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.