Arkansas defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell knows he has a pair of big-time veterans in Jake Bequette and Tenarius Wright and a potential superstar in sophomore Chris Smith.
But he may be more excited about that first of two practices on Thursday – the one where he will get his first on-field look at his bevy of newcomers.
Arkansas added a whopping five defensive ends in its 2011 recruiting class - Lonnie Gosha (6-3, 270), Grady Ollison (6-4, 275), Trey Flowers (6-4, 245), Darrell Kelly-Thomas (6-3, 220) and Horace Arkadie (6-4, 242).
"Obviously we've got Jake and Tank (Wright) and Chris Smith coming back – and I am very, very excited about those guys," Caldwell said. "But we also have some young guys coming in and – from what our strength guys have told us – they really have some good size and good speed with all of them."
Caldwell expects there will likely be two of those youngsters who will have a chance to make an impact right away.
"A lot of it is going to be how fast they can pick it up once we get them in that meeting room," Caldwell said. "When they put the pads on, it is just a completely different world. But their athletic ability and their strength level, we probably have more guys ready than we thought we were going to."
While some of those guys may grow into being defensive tackles, they will all start on the edge.
"They will all line up out there to start with," Caldwell said. "Grady is the largest one of them and the most natural to go inside, but we will start Lonnie and the rest of the guys out there on the edge.
"I think Trey Flowers is going to surprise a lot of people," Caldwell added. "We saw it on film and were very excited about it when we got him. That young man has a seven-foot wingspan. That is going to help him a lot, especially in his pass rush. His work ethic has been unbelievable according to (strength and conditioning) Coach (Jason) Veltkamp. I am looking forward to getting all those guys on film."
It all adds up to having enough defensive tackles and defensive ends to move Colton Miles-Nash from defensive end to tight end.
"We thought it would be that way and that is the reason that Coach (Petrino) went ahead and made the move," Caldwell said. "We have a lot of playmakers."
You will see Arkansas continue to use its match-ups to get its best situations.
"That is what we talked about last year," Caldwell said. "We wanted to get some guys out there on first and second down and then move them inside and get some fast guys off the edge. Now we are to that position and I think you will see us getting better and better as the year goes on and in the future."
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