The number one goal of Razorbacks’ bowl practices is to take down the Longhorns on Dec. 29 in Houston, but there’s more to it than just that.
Another goal has been to get a longer look at those who redshirted this season or might have played minimally in 2014 after redshirting in 2013.
“I came up with a list of 22 guys that were one of two things – either redshirted for us this year or redshirted a year ago and played minimal for us a year ago,” Bielema added.
Bielema mentioned offensive lineman Brian Wallace, wide receiver JoJo Robinson, tight end Jack Kraus, defensive linemen Jake Hall and Armon Watts, cornerback/safety Santos Ramirez tailback Juan Day, fullback Tyler Colquitt and linebacker Dwayne Eugene as a few of those.
Robinson (6-0, 185, 4.4) - a four-star prospect who flipped from Florida State to Arkansas and was hurt in the preseason - is certainly a guy that could help the Razorbacks stretch the field in 2015.
He and fellow former Miami prep standout Kendrick Edwards (6-6, 205) - who caught 4 passes for 70 yards in limited action this week - are expected to be playmakers in next season' Arkansas offense.
“To see the evolvement of JoJo Robinson has been nice in how he compliments and works though our program every day,” Bielema said.
Bielema knows that would help Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.
“It is similar to our defense in that is probably a work in progress,” Bielema said. “I think is greatly influenced by the talent that you have in that huddle.
“We have been able to improve the offensive talent each year and this year is going to be the same,” Bielema added.
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen improved his stats from a season ago.
He threw for nearly 600 more yards than he did as a sophomore, upped his touchdown passes from 13 to 18, cut down his interceptions from 10 to 5 improved his completion percentage from 49.6 percent to 56.3.
His overall quarterback rating jumped from 109 to 128.5.
“Jim does a tremendous job of finding out what our players’ strengths are,” Bielema said. “He did a nice job with BA, getting him to raise his level quite a bit before the first game and we saw that throughout the course of the year.
“I am sure he is going to be the first to tell you that he is looking for the guy that will give us the vertical threat in the passing game,” Bielema added. “We want to be more consistent from tackle to tackle on every play that we play.
“We want to have more consistency out of our quarterback and if we do lose BA we have got to have a depth there that gives us a chance to win,” Bielema continued.
Bielema is glad his team’s win output doubled from a year ago, but is in no way satisfied.
“I think we got better,” Bielema said. “I know we are a 6-6 team and not happy about that. I really don’t consider that a giant success, but I do know that we got better as the year went along and we played our best football down the stretch.
“We have so many areas to improve upon, including depth and just continuing to build our offense, defense and special teams philosophy,” Bielema added.
“As we progress through our program we are going to talk about 10-win, 11-win, 12-win seasons,” Bielema continued. “The objective will stay the same – are we better today than we were yesterday and if we are moving in the right direction than progress has been made.”
The Razorbacks currently have 18 commits in their 2015 recruiting class with 7 spots left to fill.
Bielema didn’t rule out taking any transfers, but noted that would have to be a near perfect fit.
“We are always going to be able to look at transfers one-by-one,” Bielema said. “Who it is, what do they bring to the table, what do I know about them, what do I feel about them, what is our position of needs.
“That part is something that I love to watch over,” Bielema added. “You just never know what is coming.”
Three Razorbacks – lineman Grady Ollison, cornerback Will Hines and tailback/kick returner Korliss Marshall – will no longer be with the team.
“I think our players know and understand that our fifth Arkansas edge is that you earn everything,” Bielema said. “You earn rewards and you earn setbacks. You earn the things that you do on a daily basis.
“If you are going to make a bad decision, there is usually going to be a consequence,” Bielema added.
Bielema notes that he tries to hand out punishment on a consistent basis.
“I think people probably over judge the word suspension,” Bielema said. “I look at it that I try to treat everybody in our program with consistency.
“One of the things that I pride myself on is trying to be the same guy every day,” Bielema added. “I am not here one day and I’ve got a different ruling one day and different ruling the thing.
“I turned down a kid for a scholarship offer because his twitter handle was something that he wouldn’t be proud to say publicly,” Bielema continued. “The result of that is he went to a different school and is now looked at in a very negative light.”
Bielema made it clear that it is about the teams and not about individuals.
“There are just different decisions that I make every day that don’t make sense to the outside world, but they make a tremendous amount of sense to me and how we want to run our program,” Bielema said.
“It is unfortunate sometimes that kids get suspended, but you have got to think of it this way…I have got 120 kids that I have to monitor on a daily basis that are 18-22 and sometimes when I handle a player a certain way, it may have a negative effect on that one player, but hopefully it makes the other 120 realize what is going on,” Bielema added.
“It’s the old statue of trying to say one child to try and make a statement to the other 20 a lot of times rings very, very true,” Bielema said.
JoJo Robinson and Kendrick Edwards are two former Miami prep wide receivers expected to have expanded roles in the Arkansas offense next season.
Robinson Among Rallying Razorback Redshirts
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