The two would-have-been seniors both stood to gain from Arkansas’ switch to the 3-4 defense in 2017. Their departure was announced the same day coach Bret Bielema introduced his new defensive coordinator, the man who will run that 3-4, Paul Rhoads.
Arkansas, already shorthanded at linebacker, could have used Beanum’s size as a scary-looking pass rusher on the outside; he almost certainly would have moved from defensive end to OLB in the new look. Hackett’s athleticism was never questioned. He, too, could have been an exterior player in the defense.
But Beanum dealt with off-the-field issues for a couple years. He never seemed to be the same after a DWI arrest in February 2015. He started chunks of that season but was mostly a rotational player. Same deal this past year, when he missed the entire spring back home taking care of some personal business, then he wasn’t on the initial fall roster when the regular season began.
Hackett was given every opportunity in 2015. Coaches tried him in the middle and the outside. He was the first-team guy for lots of that spring. Ultimately, he lost the gig, his mental adjustments not coming fast enough, they said. Hackett was buried on the depth chart again in 2016, his “starting” job at strongside linebacker for a stretch a mirage — Arkansas almost never used the strongside linebacker position.
Neither departure comes as all that big of a shock, though. And to be quite honest, they’re not all that important.
Hackett had exhausted his opportunities over the last two years. With a load of redshirt freshmen to take a look at, he wasn’t getting another whirl. Beanum, even when he played, never made much of an impact in either of the last two years.
It’s one thing to have bodies at a position. If those bodies aren’t going to be used, though, it doesn’t matter.
That leaves Dre Greenlaw, De’Jon Harris, Randy Ramsey and to-be-determined. Michael Taylor, Karl Roesler, Alexy Jean-Baptiste, Giovanni LaFrance and Dee Walker are the five players presumed to be fighting for the fourth linebacker spot.
Hackett would not have been. Beanum, maybe. But if nothing else, the loss of those two clears some things up behind the scenes. And that’s always a positive internally.
Good luck Khalia and good luck Tevin.
What if …
Arkansas landed the No. 1 junior-college tight end recruit in the country as part of its 2017 class. Jeremy Patton, from Arizona Western, was supposed to be on campus after winter break as an early enrollee. Some things have come up, though, and he won’t arrive until the summer, Bielema said.
You can view it two ways.
First, no big deal. Patton is an older, more experienced and mature player and person. What he would gain from a semester early is not equal to what a 17-, 18-year-old high school senior would gain over the same few months. Patton certainly would have been helped — and Arkansas, too — by the extra time on-campus, but relative to others, his early arrival isn’t as important.
The other way to view it is with concern. You hear about these things sometimes; a highly-touted player signs with a big-time program and never makes it to campus. Patton never arriving would be a major disappointment.
No one but those inside the Arkansas program and Patton’s circle know the reason for the delay. It very well could be nothing and he’ll dominate when he arrives. Does make you cautious, though.
Said it before and I’ll say it again: Arkansas simply needs to win the games it’s supposed to and it’ll dance.
Do not believe those around here who say “I don’t know if this is a tournament team or not.” The Razorbacks are. Right now they are. And they are comfortably.
Now, a loss at Vanderbilt on Tuesday night and another at Oklahoma State on Saturday and you can start wondering. But even as bad as the SEC is — and it isn’t good; it’s the same as it’s been most of the last six or seven years — Arkansas simply has to rack up win after win and the Razorbacks are fine.
You don’t need a standout win if you have enough victories to counteract the lack of one. Of course, not having a standout win leaves almost no room for error. But Arkansas is better than everyone on its schedule that remains except Florida and South Carolina. That isn’t to say, however, it’ll beat, or even should beat, every team but those two. Road games are difficult, man. And losing one to a team like a Vanderbilt — which is an OK enough team — isn’t going to kill things.
What will kill things, though, falling to Vanderbilt then the Pokes then someone else and doing squat against South Carolina and Florida when those games come.
For now, though? Just win, baby.
The complaining types kvetch about how Arkansas should go after more 4- and 5-star players, even if the Hogs miss. Well, here’s one. A 4-star defensive back has Arkansas among his finalists.
Tom Murphy at WholeHogSports went on a FOIA tear this past weekend. The following came from his requests.
- Offensive coordinator Dan Enos got a raise, as did strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert.
- Robb Smith cited “philosophical differences” with Bielema in his letter of resignation as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator (side note: what’s messier — divorces or coaching exits?)
Andrew Hutchinson over at 247Sports was the first to report former USC and Arkansas quarterback Ricky Town has landed as his third school of his college football career. It’s a junior college. Ahem.
Yee-Haw! Today in Arkansas
A lot of times in this space I poke fun at the state I now call home. Not today. Today, let’s give her some plaudits.
More than 4,000 people — most Arkansans — marched to the state capitol building on Saturday as part of a worldwide women’s rights movement. The number isn’t large compared to marches in many other cities across the globe, but it’s impressive enough, considering.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette had full coverage.