Arkansas wide receiver Dominique Reed trying to become bigger part of offense

Junior wide receiver Dominique Reed discussed his evolving role in the Arkansas offense after practice Wednesday.

Arkansas wide receiver Dominique Reed is gaining some confidence after scoring touchdowns in his last two games. But the junior from Camden also knows he's got more learning to do as the Hogs prepare for Auburn in a bye week.

"It took quite awhile to get rolling, but now I feel like I'm getting there," Reed said after Wednesday's practice. "I feel pretty good. But I still do things that could be much better. Like on the interception, I didn't get the route right. I've got to get the details of the route and my coach is on me to do that."

That was in reference to an interception thrown by Brandon Allen in the Alabama game. Reed was the intended target, but broke too deep.

"He's got to squeeze that route," said Michael Smith, Arkansas receivers coach. "He's learning. But there are still some mistakes that pop up.

"The good thing is that he is studying hard. He is working harder in the film room to get things right than he once did. He understands what he can do to get better and it's the details.

"It's kind of funny, we made the statement when we brought him in that we were going to put in a package for him early and we hoped that by week six that he could have the entire offense. Here we are after week six and it's happening. You saw the plays the last two weeks and it just has taken time.

"But we have to get it all perfect. That interception was totally on Dominique. He's got to squeeze back to the ball. We had talked about that. We coach him not to do that, but he still does at times.

"There is a lot to learn to play at this level and he's getting there. I think you are going to see more big things from him.

"We know this team needs for the ball to be in Dominique's hands. We need him to be at his best, though. We do think Brandon is getting more comfortable with Dominique."

The comfort level is coming for Reed, too. The touchdown against Tennessee was a huge boost to his confidence.

"Honestly, it really was," he said. "It was like my whole body has relaxed. I still know I can do more to help the team. I know I can help Brandon more."

Most of his catches have been shorter routes, but Reed said the deep vertical ball is coming.

"It has to do with how teams play us," Reed said. "If it's zone, you are underneath. But there will be some man-to-man and some coverages that we can go deep. It's coming. I promise it is. We know that's something that we still need to put together, that vertical play. We've worked on it. Time will tell. It's coming."

Secondary coach Clay Jennings sees it in practice.

"It's there," he said. "But what Dominique needs is to continue to work the details, the nuances of the offense is what it's about. I see him working. I just tell him that the 10-15 reps he gets in individual are so important. You get those chances, you make the most of them.

"But I see the making of a heckuva player. He's got what it takes to be big at this level. We all still see that and it's coming."

Smith said it's becoming easier to coach Reed because he sees things happening that are right from wrong as far as the details.

"He can tell me when he's done something wrong," Smith said. "That's great. Now we have to coach him to where he doesn't make those mistakes.

"The other thing that is happening, he's doing it more naturally and it is coming faster. If you have to think, it slows you down. We don't want to slow him down at all. That's his strength and it's starting to happen."

Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen likes how Reed is coming along.

“I think he is really maturing in the offense,” Allen said. “He is really understanding it a lot better now. He is getting himself focused with the confidence he has in understanding where to line up and what to run.
“That has given him more confidence in getting open and he is making plays for us.”
How big a factor can he be in the second half?
“He can be a big factor, he really can,” Allen said. “He has got that speed and size where he can get himself open and outrun a lot of guys. A couple of his touchdowns are runs after catch, not just catching it in the end zone.
“He is doing a good job of getting open, catching it and then making plays with his feet afterwards.”

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