Suddenly Arkansas junior Brooks Ellis is the old man in the linebacker room instead of the young pup.
Ellis (6-2, 242) has a bevy of youngsters now that he has taken under his wing because he knows it’s about the group and not just him.
True freshmen Derrick Graham (6-4, 247), Kendrick Jackson (6-1, 249) and Dre Greenlaw (6-0, 222) have now gone through their first two college practices.
“They are doing a great job of stepping in and really trying to learn the defense,” Ellis said. “They are giving great effort on the field.
“It is kind of hard for them because everything moves so fast and you are learning so much, but they are doing a great job of getting the older guys – me, Khalia (Hackett) and Josh (Williams), Dwayne (Eugene) and all those guys are really trying to learn the defense and just doing whatever they can to get better.”
Greenlaw and Elliis are former teammates at Fayetteville High.
“It’s kind of cool because I played with him when I was a senior and he was a sophomore,” Ellis said. “He has been doing a good job of getting with me on the defense and getting great effort.
“He’s a freshman and it is different than high school and takes a little bit of getting used to. I had to go through that. He is doing the best he can and is getting better.”
Ellis believes Friday’s practice was a better team effort than Thursday’s opening workout.
“The first day we could have done better,” Ellis said. “I think today was a lot better…Guys were just a lot more prepared, fueled their bodies a lot better, a lot more effort going in, running to the football a lot better, smart swarm. That is part of our philiosophy.”
Ellis, who was named to the Butkas Award Watch list earlier this summer, will take over the Will linebacker spot this season after manning the middle last season.
He had 72 tackles last season – second on the team behind Martrell Spaight, who led the SEC in tackles with 128.
Ellis is replacing Spaight at the Will linebacker and knows he’ll have the opportunity to do the same with their being more plays out in space at the current spot.
“I think there is the opportunity to make more tackles in that spot (Will), but it is not something that I am thinking about too much,” Ellis said. “It’s in the back of my mine.”
Ellis is looking forward to Saturday’s practice as the Razorbacks make their way toward full pads with shells in practice three.
“We are going to be hitting, just not to the ground so it is not the same thing as full pads,” Ellis said.
Ellis knows that Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema’s vow of no two-a-days is retractable.
“We were excited, but we know that if we don’t give him what he wants, give our best effort that he is going to revoke that,” Ellis said.
Ellis Now The Old Man At Linebacker
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