• Coach Dustin Fry acknowledges that last season’s OL was not anywhere near where he wanted it to be, in part because of talent, depth and a few key guys not buying in.
Feels like everyone is on board and the same page, there is much more cohesiveness and that he has three lines worth of OL.
Fry noted that the first-team line on Friday would be Colton Jackson at left tackle, Austin Capps at left guard, Ty Clary at center, Shane Clenin at right guard and Dalton Wagner at right tackle.
He said Myron Cunningham will start the first day at second team left tackle, but he expects him to be on the first team sooner than late. Cunnigham’s arrival has lit a fire under Jackson according to Fry.
Some center candidates behind Clary - who has worked hard to improve his shotgun snaps - are Silas Robinson, Luke Jones, Shane Clenin, Beaux Limmer and Ricky Stromberg.
They are waiting to hear on Jones’ immediately eligibility appeal after transferring from Notre Dame.
• Coach Fry noted that Arkansas was only looking to sign 2-3 offensive linemen in the 2020 class after signing six in 2019 and embracing those six.
• TE coach Barry Lunney raves about the emergence of Chase Harrell, who has moved from WR to TE and has gone from 218 last season to 250. He’s not ready to name him a Mackey Award nominee just yet, but is close. Lunney is glowing about having Cheyenne O’Grady, Hudson Henry, Chase Harrell, Greyson Gunter and Blake Kern (viewed as his best blocker) in his TE room.
• Lunney is also the special teams coordinator and thinks those units will be much improved this season. He notes that everyone was beyond embarrassed by the North Texas “fake” punt return and it sparked that unit the rest of the season and has carried into the off-season.
Arkansas added immediately eligible punter/kickoff guy Sam Loy, formerly of Vanderbilt, to the mix this summer. He will battle Reid Bauer and Matthew Phillips for punting duties and has a great chance to take over the kickoffs.
Notes that Connor Limpert is vastly underrated seeing as he is the all-time leading FG percentage leader in Arkansas history.
• Mark Smith loves the talent that has been injected into his secondary in true freshmen Devin Bush, Greg Brooks and Jalen Catalon, the body transformation of Kam Curl and the work he has seen out of guys like LaDarrrius Bishop, Montaric Brown, Jarques McClellion, Joe Foucha, Myles Brooks and on and on.
• WR coach Justin Stepp has seen Deon Stewart, Jordan Jones and Mike Woods step up since the arrival of the four celebrated freshmen WRs. They know to play, it’s got to be all in all the time. He knows what he has now and is smiling about it.
• OC Joe Craddock loves he competition between QBs Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel. Hicks has the edge in experience and system, but Starkel believes he is going to be the starting QB for two years - something Craddock said should be his mindset.