Clay: LB Question

For most of this season this board has been alive, and appropriately so, with questions about the defense, who’s to blame and how to fix it.
The secondary is certainly personnel, injuries and an inability to correct mistakes. The coaches simply had no one else to put in there and our fate was sealed.
But LB is the real mystery to me. Since Spaight left only two LBs have really developed, Ellis and Greenlaw. It is not so much that that number is so low is the mystery, but why so few LBs have even earned the right to get on the field? It was only once Greenlaw got hurt that we started to see Eugene, Ramsey and D. Harris. And that seemed reluctantly. Hackett can’t play? K. Jackson can’t play? Ramsey can’t play? Harris can’t play? Either one? Williams can’t play? Graham couldn’t play? Eugene looks lost in traffic half the time when he does play. For a development program not much is going on at LB.
I have been watching Arkansas football since 1973 and I have never seen a situation where LBs just can’t even get on the field.
Clay could you please use your in-depth reporting skill to take a look at this situation and give us a clear look at what is going on there?
There have been three LB coaches in the last three seasons. All well thought of. Coach Smith is the only constant. Is the system too complicated? Are we recruiting too hard to teach players? Are we not matching recruits to system? Something is amiss.

You have great questions, and I agree that if the complexity of the system is keeping superior talent off the field, changes must be made. Arkansas also needs to place more emphasis on recruiting pass-rushing defensive ends. The defense was better with Chris Smith and Trey Flowers. Nobody similar was recruited to take their place.

LB and S recruiting - or lack thereof - has been the biggest disappointment from s recruiting standpoint. I remember watching the LA Tech game and thinking their safety’s were much more athletic than Arkansas and wondering " how the heck does that happen?"

Yes, safeties might finally get better next season, but it has been slow coming.

This is not a pro Petrino response and I am not a Petrino supporter. Please don’t start a Petrino debate thread based on this response.

With that said, I think he is one of the smartest coaches in the biz. I remember a few times when he was our coach, our defense would be getting whipped and turn it around in the second half. When asked by the media after the game what adjustments they made, he would say we just simplified the game plan and let them play defense. It sounded like they realized the game plan was making the players think too much and realized it wasn’t working. They were willing to blow it up and just let them play the best way they knew how.

I wonder if this coaching staff on defense tries too hard to make kids play their scheme and are not willing to deviate from the game plan?

Bump hoping for a response from Clay.