After a week on the recruiting trail with his staff, Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema and his staff were re-energized to get back with his current Razorbacks for practice on Sunday.
Bielema talked about how happy he was with the week and he, offensive coordinator Dan Enos and defensive coordinator Robb Smith met with the media on Monday ahead of this Saturday’s 11 a.m. game with visiting Auburn.
“Great,” Bielema said. “I think the part that was just kind of an uplift for everybody, I pretty much sent everybody on the road although Coach Smith and Coach Enos were able to get out only one day apiece.
“I know Coach Smith got out last Thursday to watch a game and he was with me half the day on Friday and we flew back together from Florida and were just talking seeing about the players that we saw.”
Bielema and his staff have 14 commits in the 2016 class and he feels good about what the staff has rounded up so far.
“The biggest difference with this class we are going to sign in February – and we will have some guys sign in December – is that it will be some much better than this first class just because now we are going to places with solid commitments.
“…The players I saw last week, it is not like we are going to decide if we are going to offer them or not, it’s going to try and make an impact like ‘hey, Coach saw me at practice’ and hey, Coach was there.’
“You are trying to figure out who you can make the biggest impact on and just communicating with the kids after you have been in the school the next day…and any response they give you just makes you feel good. “
That includes Arkansas linebacker pledge Alexy Jean-Baptiste as well as some uncommitted athlete Tyrell Alexander of Lancaster, Texas.
Those two are scheduled to take official visits this weekend while the Manvel, Texas duo of uncommitted linebacker Jordan Carmouche (6-2, 230) and Ole Miss tailback pledge D’Vaughn Pennamon (6-1, 205) taking officials to Arkansas the following week.
“We are recruiting kids that know we are not quite there yet and know they can come in and make an immediate impact and I think that is a big deal.
“We have recruited in the right way. We have looked for the right type of kid, a kid that loves football, a kid that is going to do things academically, that we don’t have to worry about how far he is going to come along, that gets really exciting.”
He also noted that playing the last three games in Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium and Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium – all in highly-watched nationally televised games – has resonated well with recruits.
“The venues that we have been in are unbelievable and don’t ever lose sight of how much of a benefit that can be for us in recruiting,” Bielema said.
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Arkansas also used the bye week to get ready for the game with Auburn, who won at 30-27 Kentucky last Thursday.
Bielema talked about how the Razorback coaches watch both cut-ups of the game as well as watching them as they played out live.
“The thing that has evolved a little bit in technology today is that I pretty much watch every game when we play an opponent on our film system that they turn over to us,” Bielema said, “but I also watch every game live.
“It just gives you a different perspective, especially when you are playing a no-huddle because when you cutting it up into offensive and defensive film, you have no correlation to understand how long from the play to the snap.
“So we… have people that sit and time that show us the amount of average snaps on their plays, from first and second down, from second and third down when they are trying to go super high tempo and all that stuff.
“And there is also just certain things that you pick up on TV film that don’t appear the same on game film.”