Hard Work Paying Off

Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee knows that he will have some talented newcomers to take a look at in preseason practice, but knows the Razorback offense will likely flourish this season because of the veterans who have put the hard work in the past three seasons.

While Arkansas has a ton of talented newcomers to add to the 2011 roster, Razorback offensive coordinator Garrick McGee sounded a cautionary tale about the rookies on Monday.

"It is different, high school is different," McGee said. "You are in a system that you have been in for a long time. But if you are on our team at this point, you were the best high school player on the team so you could get away with a lot of bad habits because you had the ability to overcome it. That's different when you come to college.

"So it is hard to project or predict what is going to happen when we start practicing because it is a totally different system, you are playing against people that are older, bigger and faster, stronger," McGee added. "The practice sessions are harder, the coaches more intense. There are people at practice every day and you are playing at one of the top programs in the country so it is hard to predict."

Arkansas believes it is going to win this season in large part because of returning veterans and the hard work that has been put into the program for the last three years.

"We expect to win and we put a lot of work in," McGee said. "The whole thing – preparing, developing our kids, studying different teams, the recruiting process – we have really out a lot of work in to get the program to where it is now. We expect to win. We don't just work to work and not have your expectations high. Our expectations within our own building are as high as they have been. We expect to win right now."

McGee's offense picked up another weapon recently when junior Colton Miles-Nash (6-6, 260) moved from defensive end to tight end.

While Miles-Nash played tight end as freshman, it was sparingly and just for a special package of plays.

"That was a little different for him because he was so green," McGee said. "I do know that he came in and did a really good job for us and was aggressive. We didn't ask him to do much in the past or to be a snap-after-snap, on-the-line tight end. But I do know that he has grown up in our program and I am excited about his ability, his size and his length. He is a veteran now and he understands the way we go about our business."

McGee noted that Miles-Nash will join redshirt junior Chris Gragg as the main two tight ends.

"He (Miles-Nash) is one of my favorite guys and always has been from the recruiting process," McGee added. "I am excited and he is going to have a lot to learn, there are a lot of details that go into playing a position and he is going to have to spend a lot of time studying the position. I think it helps that he played defensive end so he can kind of anticipate what is going to happen."

The dismissal of offensive lineman Anthony Oden was a loss, but one that should be overcome because of where the program is according to McGee.

It helps that the Razorbacks added Springdale Har-Ber's Brey Cook, Springdale's Mitch Smothers, Bentonville's Marcus Danenhauer and junior college tackles Jason Peacock and Chris Stringer in the 2011 recruiting class to go along with returnees Grant Freeman and Luke Charpentier.

"Whenever you lose a player, you are going to lose some depth, but we are fortunate that we have a lot of good players," McGee said. "I think we did recruiting at that spot last year. It was a need that we wanted to address and we thought that we really addressed it. We were fortunate that we had kids right here around our stadium that were really good players. It is what it is. It is the way the thing works. You keep going forward and you have another guy step up."

"It is unfortunate for the kid, but the program will be okay," McGee said.

The offense will likely be turning the keys over to redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Wilson, who was named the state's top player his senior season over the wide receivers he will be throwing to – Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright.

"Tyler won that Landers Award the year they all came out so they have confidence in him and know what he can do," McGee said.


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