With senior-to-be Trey Flowers not being used in scrimmages this spring, it's open up an opportunity to for three emerging prospects to make their push for a starting spot opposite him this fall.
Redshirt sophomores-to-be Brandon Lewis (6-5, 256), Deatrich Wise (6-6, 267) and Jamichael Winston (6-5, 264) all showed off their skills in last Saturday's scrimmage.
Wise had a team-leading nine tackles with a pair of sacks, Winston 3 stops for lost yardage and Lewis a couple of quarterback hurries as they view to replace senior Chris Smith.
"I think we pretty much have always tried to work hard because we are trying to get to the position that Chris is in or get to the position that Trey is in. Everybody is just rolling. Rolling in and rolling out and giving it their all on every play."
They'll get a chance to do it once more this upcoming Saturday during an open scrimmage that will start at 11:45 a.m. at Razorback Stadium.
"It's all about pushing every play, not taking a single play off and being as ready as we can be as a group to get things done this fall," Lewis said. "We all kind of feel like it is our time to shine now that Chris has moved on."
Flowers (6-4, 267) – who chose not to be his name in the NFL draft – isn't happy about watching during scrimmages, but understands the decision of head coach Bret Bielema to value the player's health and get the others experience.
"When he came to my home (to discuss the draft), he pretty much said he was going to hold me out of scrimmages and let those young guys get some reps," Flowers said.
Wise was the most productive of the three that all played in every game.
He had 17 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for lost yardage and a pair of quarterback hurries.
Lewis had 13 tackles, 2.5 tackles for lost yardage, a half sack and two quarterback hurries.
Winston had four tackles, one forced fumble, one interception and one quarterback hurry last season.
"I think we are all coming on pretty good," Lewis said. "It's just us everyday pushing each other and making sure everybody knows where they need to be and what they need to be doing."
They are being coached by new Razorback defensive line coach Rory Segrest, who sees a lot to work with this spring.
"It's like anything else – we see some great plays one minute and a missed assignment the next," Segrest said. "What we need from all of them is consistency and that is why we are giving them so many reps this spring. There's just nothing that can make up for experience."
All have been involved in some skirmishes with the offensive line this spring.
"When people go hard, everybody gets anxious and rowdy," Lewis said. "We've been practicing with a lot of intensity and trying to be physical and that's why you have those little get-togethers. It just shows that everybody is putting their heart into it and getting their all out of it."
Flowers saw some positives and some negatives in last Saturday's scrimmage.
"As far as the good things, we were playing pretty fast and pretty physical, but we still have got a few things to work on – missed assignments, we had a lot of those," Flowers said. "I think guys were going pretty fast, pretty hard and were giving great effort."
Photos by Jason Ivester
Brandon Lewis closes in on a fumble against LSU
Deatrich Wise stands over South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.
Jamichael Winston is congratulated by his teammates.
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