Hey Clay, as we sit here today in early May… Coming out of spring and going into the summer what are your thoughts on the team in year 5? What do you see as an area you think might make a good jump with a good summer and a little more organic development??
Last, when you factor in the additions of the recruiting class where do you think this team will be next fall?
I think we are going to be a good team if we develop over the summer like we should.
The two things that I think will improve that will help this team the most are pass protection and rushing the passer. That’s what has to get better.
The development of the tackles (Brian Wallace, Colton Jackson and Jalen Merrick) was a positive in the spring. Those three have to do a better job of protecting Austin Allen than what happened last year. Hjalte Froholdt is significantly better at left guard. In short, the offensive line has to improve and I think it showed that in the spring.
The whole reason to go to the 3-4 front on defense is to improve the pass rush. There are just more options to change things up in the rush with the four linebackers. Austin Allen told me that all spring. It was good for the offense to see a 3-4 daily in practice since that’s the most common alignment in the SEC. Randy Ramsey will be a good asset in the 3-4, getting on the field more. I expect the return of both Dre Greenlaw and Kevin Richardson to be a big boost for this defense.
As far as what is organic, I’m not sure. My wife and daughters try to feed me organic stuff and I’ve resisted to some degree over the last couple of years. I’m fine with non-organic, but I really don’t know what it means, especially as how it pertains to Arkansas football. Maybe it’s the guys who don’t take any antibiotics?
What I mean by develop organically is just what you said about the developing of Dean below…
“That’s hard to say. You see lots of young players who stop developing after 18. He looked the part, but didn’t play like he looked. He was a little light, but adding pounds and keeping performance didn’t seem to work. We always just assume that players are going to make natural growth and with pounds doesn’t effect performance (speed). Sometimes it doesn’t work. I recall talking to John McDonnell. Adding pounds always scared him. He saw many track guys come into football and when they added that 15 pounds that was needed to play in the SEC and stay healthy, they didn’t have the same speed and quickness. Did that happen with Dean? Not sure. But he never looked like something you could thought had ability to beat opponents one-on-one.”
Lots of young players stop developing, but lots of players hit that natural growth spurt… That is what I always look for each season…
Thanks for the answer to my question, very interesting thoughts.