When Arkansas takes the practice field on Monday to begin its second week of camp, the depth chart will look a little different according to Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema.
Offensive lineman Grady Ollison is now back to original entry college position of defensive tackle, Taiwan Johnson is now the first-team nose guard and a trio of freshmen - linebacker Randy Ramsey, offensive tackle Brian Wallace and cornerback Henre' Toliver will be getting a lot more reps after their Saturday scrimmage performances.
“Not to repeat yesterday,” Bielema said, “ but I was very, very excited coming off the field and after getting a chance last night to watch the film, I met with our staff today and had an opportunity to make some changes to our depth chart, I just thought there were a lot of positives that came out of yesterday.
“The number one thing is we stayed pretty healthy, got some guys nicked and some dinged up, but nobody is going to miss significant time. In addition to that, (cornerback) Tevin Mitchel got clearance from injury so he has been removed from his green jersey and he'll be in full participation this week and next Saturday he will return to live competition.”
Bielema made the comments during Sunday's Arkansas Media Day after finishing up the first week of camp.
“It is an exciting time to be in the program and I am excited to get into week two and I think week two will be a lot better than week one although I was impressed and very excited about the progress we made,” Bielema said.
“...I'm not saying when we are going to get to the top of mountain, but I know we are going to get there. There are just so many things – I was like a giggly little school girl yesterday excited about what I saw. I heard things at practice that I haven't heard for awhile – just the intensity of the hits, the collisions, the ball disruption, the breaks on the ball defensively, the big plays offensively that were being thrown and caught. Those things change games.”
Bielema noted how much pride he was taking in listening to his coaches talk about the players.
“To hear my coaches just take a lot of pride in the improvement of their players and to know that the coaches love their players, seeing it – when there is that much emotion involved, usually good things are happening,” Bielema said.
He was asked if he had anything to prove after the Razorbacks went 3-9 in the first year at the helm.
“I don't think I really have anything to prove,” Bielema said. “I think I just go through life trying to have success today better than yesterday. I took this challenge and this is an internal thing and that is the reason I went into it. I wanted to do something that hadn't been done and in this world there aren't a lot of those things left. The challenge of winning an SEC Championship is something that I think about daily, but as far as proving anything, I don't really spend a lot of time thinking about that.”
In addition to Mitchel being cleared, Bielema noted that tailback Jonathan Williams will be out a couple of days with a hamstring injury suffered Saturday, while tailback Alex Collins, defensive tackle Bijhon Jackon and cornerback Santos Ramirez are all cleared for practice after missing Saturday and injured defensive lineman Mitchell Loewen will be more engaged in practice this week.
Ollison is bouncing back to defensive tackle, something he requested.
“Grady Ollison will move from offensive line to defensive line so we are going to switch him into the three technique (defensive tackle),” Bielema said. “Obviously he is a kid that was recruited here as a D-lineman and they switched him over to an O-lineman before we were here. Just with development of some of our younger guys and new players coming in, we felt - and Grady just wanted a fresh breath of air - and moving him over to three technique and we'll see what he can do there.”
Bielema said Arkansas could make this change because of how well the four newcomers – transfers Cameron Jefferson and Sebastian Tretola and freshmen Frank Ragnow and Wallace have performed the first week to supplement the returnees.
“We are going to get those guys more reps and maybe work them in with the ones,” Bielama said. “We may float the idea of popping Cameron out and playing a little left tackle to find out what he can do on the outside perimeter as well...I think in the offensive line two freshmen that will play for us in Ragnow and possibly Brian Wallace.”
Johnson has made his move at nose guard and he was elevated on Sunday while DeMarcus Hodge will now back up Darius Philon at DT and Bijhon Jackson (down from 347 pounds to 317 since arriving on campus in May – moves up for more reps at nose guard.
“We will take a look at him at that tilt nose and see exactly what he can get done,” Bielema said. “We'll move Hodge and let him play a little three technique at defensive tackle behind Philon. Philon is playing extremely well. We will also now let Bijhon – since he is cleared to get a lot of reps with the twos at nose and Cordale Boyd also there.”
Ramsey was the statistical star of the scrimmage at linebacker and Arkansas will use this week to get more reps for him and fellow freshmen linebacker Khalia Hackett and Dwayne Eugene.
“We want to get Randy Ramsey as many reps as we can because we think he is a guy that can play for us,” Bielema said. “...I think all three freshmen linebackers will play for us as well as Bijhon Jackson.”
Bielema says Mitchel will return as one starting corner while Toliver is now in a second-team tie with Jared Collins while Carroll Washington starts and D.J. Dean is the back-up at the other corner.
True freshman fullback Tyler Colquitt had a concussion and couldn't scrimmage on Saturday.
“We are really still searching for that fullback,” Bielema said. “We are going to try a couple of guys there this week, but I will keep that in house until we know for sure what we are doing.”
As far as the wideouts, Drew Morgan and Keon Hatcher will work at the Z, Demetrius Wilson, Cody Hollister and freshman Kendrick Edwards at the X and Jared Cornelius and JoJo Robinson will gets reps at the slot receiver next week.
• • •
Bielema mentioned of the 260 total grades of football players taking summer classes that 92 were As and 89 were Bs.
“I remember the first time I did a grade report when we got here in January or February, we had more Cs, Ds and Fs than As and Bs,” Bielema said. “We have completely flipped that to the other side. Jonathan Williams – I know he tweeted it the other day – had a 4.0 and those weren't pottery classes. He had classes that he attacked on a daily basis.”
Second Week Of Practice Will See Changes
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