When Bret Bielema was asked about the developmental practices since the bowl was announced, the Arkansas head coach beamed about his reshirts in particular, including some of his freshmen who have played a little this season.
It was a chance for the head coach to envision some help that's coming soon in the building of the Arkansas program. Bielema talked extensively about the excitement of redshirt freshman wide receiver JoJo Robinson, a burst of speed and a tough competitor.
"Yeah, Jojo, we just talked about it this morning in a staff meeting," Bielema said. "He’s probably one of the hardest guys to defend on the scout-team end. He’s such a competitor. We have a little tackle circuit, you guys know Robb and he’s got certain philosophies. We do this tackle circuit, and so there are five or six elements to that. And one of the things is, you need to tackle a guy on a mat tackle, and Jojo won’t get tackled. He refuses, and I kind of got pissed. So I sent Spaight after him, and he won’t go down. He said, ‘Coach, I’m nobody’s tackling dummy.’ And I have to take a step back and control myself, but I also appreciate what he’s saying. He just doesn’t want to be tackled.
"Catching the ball, he’s so competitive. Yesterday him and Corn (Cornelius Floyd) both went for a ball. Jojo’s from Miami Northwestern and Corn’s from Gulver Prep, and Corn basically took it out of his hands and stole it. And I mean, you would have thought he had stolen a care. Jojo was pissed. So I kind of gave him a little heat about letting a South Florida guy take the ball from him. He’s just a competitor. He’s going to make us so much better. He’ll push Jared Cornelius. He’s a guy that I think can be helpful in the return game. He also talks about how he wants to play corner. He goes, ‘Once I get wide receiver down, I’ll play corner.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you worry about getting wide receiver down first.’
"Up front, Armon Watts has been a very pleasant surprise. For some of you who covered Jake Hall in high school football, Jake Hall now weighs 258 pounds. He looks like a different human being. He still hasn't said three sentences to me since he's been here; he don't take much, but he looks great. I think Jake and Armon have had a nice fall and they've taken advantage of the opportunities they've gotten.
"At the linebacker position, obviously Dwanye Eugene and Khalia Hackett and Randy Ramsey have played a little bit, but those guys have really continue to develop during developmental practices. In the back end, the one guy who redshirted that we all can't wait to see if Santos Ramirez. He looks like an NFL safety type kind of guy. He's extremely physical; we've got to calm him down all the time during practice. He's a really effective player.
"On the offensive side of the ball, Brian Wallace and Frank Ragnow jump out. Frank got some playing time and got some recognition this year, but Brian Wallace on a couple of plays looks like he could be as good as anybody could be. If he doesn't know what he's doing he gets a little bit lost, but he's tall, he's physical, he's big, he's put on about 30 pounds, he weighs about 330 pounds now. I think he weighed 300 when he got here, so he looks like a different guy. At the tight end position, Jack Kraus went probably 255, 260 when we got him here to 238. He kind of went body-builder on us, but he shed off some good weight. He caught a seam pass yesterday from Ty that was a really impressive catch, so I think he's doing some good things. I think on the perimeter we already talked about JoJo.
"In the backfield, two Little Rock guys, Tyler Colquitt and Juan Day, I had a feeling they were going to be pretty good. Tyler Colquitt is very impressive and very explosive. He knocked a guy out of the ring the other day - we were playing a little what we call hog drill and he kicked the living somebody pretty good. J-Day has been a little banged up with an ankle, but boy when he's in there and hits a crease, he's pretty impressive."
JoJo Shows Out in Bowl Practices
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