Arkansas coach Bret Bielema Excited to Begin Spring Football

Bret Bielema bragged on his team as the eight-week winter conditioning period came to a close. Arkansas starts spring drills on Tuesday, March 29.

Bret Bielema bragged on his football team Wednesday as the stars of the last three years dazzled scouts from all 32 NFL teams on pro day at Arkansas.

There was even some "sugar" for some that haven't handled it well in the past. Bielema didn't seem to care as he praised second-chance linebacker Randy Ramsey when asked to pick some highlights of the winter workouts.

"I hate to brag on him because he takes sugar and runs," Bielema said. "But Randy Ramsey is making As and Bs. He's engaged and super excited."

Ramsey was not with the Hogs last year. He flunked out during the 2015 season. He's rejoined the team this semester as a walk-on.

Bielema also had high praise for mid-term arrival McTelvin "Sosa" Agim. The Hope defensive end will open spring drills at the rush end spot. He has sparkled in every way.

"He's as good as advertised," Bielema said of the five-star defensive lineman. "He's at 290."

Sosa is still trying to wear his jersey from the Nike all-star camp, The Opening. But it's bursting at the seams. The clothes he brought to school in January no longer fits.

"He's going to be special," Bielema said.

Bielema is excited about a lot of areas. He's just finished one-on-one interviews with the entire squad.

"I always do that this time of year," he said. "I talk to them on three areas -- academics, who they are going to live with in the fall and where they are going on spring break."

Next week is spring break. The Hogs open spring drills on Tuesday, March 29. The number one topic for the Razorback Club circuits over the last month have been the battle to replace Brandon Allen at quarterback.

"Everyone wants to talk about quarterbacks," Bielema said. "They are all doing well. But there is going to be a lot of other stuff going on in spring. We've got some battles in the offensive line, the defensive line and some things in the back end of the defense.

"I do know that we have three new coaches doing a tremendous job. Reggie Mitchell has had a running back in his office every single day this week, doing one-on-ones. Kurt Anderson has the offensive line wrapped around his finger. Paul Rhoads has made a tremendous impact."

One of the key battles will be at center where Zack Rogers will battle Frank Ragnow and others. Bielema said converted defensive tackle Hjalte Froholdt will get a chance at both center and guard, as will juco transfer Deion Malone.

"Froholdt had done a great job at offensive guard," Bielema said. "But he's so smart, we want to see how he handles center, too. He'll start off at guard, but we want him to snap some, too. Frank is going to work at both. And I want to see Malone snap, too."

Rawleigh Williams has performed well in winter workouts at 228 pounds. He won't see any contact in the spring after coming off neck surgery in the middle of the season.

"Rawleigh has looked great," Bielema said. "Duwop Mitchell has looked good at running back, too. Juan Day is doing well there, too.

"Defensively, Brooks Ellis is our leader at linebacker, obviously. But we are also getting great leadership from Deatrich Wise. He's taken huge steps in leadership. T.J. Smith (at tackle) is caught our eyes in the front."


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