FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Under Bret Bielema, Arkansas has developed a reputation as a run-first, rough-and-tumble squad offensively that has rejected the no-huddle, up-tempo trend that has swept across college football.
Entering 2016, though, the Hogs’ wide receiver corps might well be the best, most experienced position group on the team.
Senior Drew Morgan was the team’s leading receiver last year, catching 63 passes for 843 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was one of five offensive players to meet with reporters following Saturday’s practice.
Q: How’s the team looking through three practices?
A: First day, I was actually not present because I had a test. So I was actually on my phone after the test, Twitter, trying to figure out your guys’ updates. …Talking to Keon (Hatcher), and called coach (Dan) Enos and (Michael) Smith and they said practice went really good for the first day so I was like “Cool, let’s keep this rolling.” So second day came out kind of shaky. More dropped balls than we expected. Today, huge improvement.
Are there enough balls to go around for all of you guys?
There’s a few of the guys right now that are stepping up and making plays. To be able to take the leadership role, me and Keon, and run with it and show the guys these ropes, the balls are always going to come. It doesn’t matter if it’s from Austin (Allen) or from Rafe (Peavey) or from Ty (Storey). They’re going to come. The younger guys are going to step up and make the plays and the older guys are going to lead the way.
Is there pressure on your group since you are the experienced ones this year?
We do say the offense runs through the receivers. We are explosive and we have a lot of explosive players in the receiver group. We like to hashtag ourselves “Wide Receiver U.” Got five guys that are extremely talented and below them, nobody’s ever heard of them, but we have more guys that are going to more explosive. For us to keep the ball rolling and have the younger guys look up to us and see this, it’s very impressive.
Is it strange to have the offense run through the receivers considering the reputation Arkansas has?
With our type of offense, no, we’re not known for that. Previous years, it’s been that way with (Bobby) Petrino … and now it’s kind of revolving back around to it. We’ve got athletes. We have talent. It’s going to help Austin with a lot of confidence because he’s going to know, “I have five to six guys that are going to catch the ball when I throw it, including (tight end Jeremy) Sprinkle.”