One of the changes that the University of Arkansas is working through during spring practice is the breaking in of a new wide receivers coach.
Former UNLV assistant Kris Cinkovich took over for Paul Petrino in that spot and has won veterans like Jarius Wright and Greg Childs over quickly.
"I like him," Wright said. "He is real similar to Coach Paul in his coaching style. The things we learn – he kind of switched up the language a little bit, but when it comes down to it we are learning the same things. We are getting a lot of good reps of it and he is overall a good coach."
Childs – the league's most productive returning receiver - echoed some of those same sentiments after Friday's spring practice, the third of 15 such workouts the NCAA allows.
"Coach Cink is a great coach," Childs said. "He came all way down here to coach. He has coached good receivers. He knows exactly what we need to do to get better at the next level. So he is trying to get us to play like we are pros.
"If we are running a play, he wants us to run all the way down to get back in the huddle – unless they say that don't need us in the huddle," Childs added. "He doesn't want us jogging off the field or nothing. He is a real good coach because he has everything down pat."
It was not uncommon for Paul Petrino to go chasing down Wright and his fellow receivers the past two seasons.
That's not the case with Cinkovich – at least yet with a group that includes three juniors-to-be that are among the best in the conference.
Childs had 48 catches for 894 yards and 7 touchdowns last season while Wright added 41 receptions for 681 yards and 5 scores and Joe Adams 29 catches that rolled up 568 yards and 7 TDS.
"He really doesn't get on to us too much, but if he does he comes down and talks to us firm," Wright said. "We haven't made him mad yet so we haven't seen the bad side.
"We were freshmen and sophomores when Coach Paul used to chase us down the field," Wright added. "When you got older children, when they grow up you expect more out of them. That is what I think the deal is now. He just expects more out of us being older."
Wright said that he and the other standouts certainly aren't content to rest on their laurels and have a big-time goal in mind.
"Really you just have to love the game and stay hungry," Wright said. "Every practice you just have to come out and work on running your routes better and some of the things you wasn't as good at last year.
"When it all comes down to it, your ultimate goal is a national championship," Wright added. "So you have just got to have that on your mind like you are going to get a national championship."
Joining that trio of accomplished wide receivers are sophomore-to-be Cobi Hamilton (19 catches, 347 yards, 3 TDs) and redshirt freshman Lance Ray.
"They are coming along real well," Wright said. "Some of the older receivers like me, Greg and Joe are helping them learn how to play the position and letting them know what to expect out of the SEC at that position.
"I know y'all saw a little bit of Cobi last year and the potential he had," Wright said. "Lance Ray is a very strong and very physical receiver so that will help out me and Joe with another receiver coming in and being physical against cornerbacks."
Childs thinks there might be big things in Ray's future this season.
"Lance is doing real, real good," Childs said. "He is very fast. I haven't seen nobody that fast in a long time. He is like ‘Greg, Greg, what can I do? I am trying to get better and things.' So he has a lot of questions and I tell him. Lance Ray is going to be a real good receiver for us."
Joining those five in the receiver lines are about 10 other guys.
"It's great," Childs said. "Usually the main guys have got to take all the reps. Now we have got more guys that are pretty good, too, and they can come in and try to give us some help. We try to encourage them play different spots and get involved in practice.
"We won't be as tired as we would usually be with five guys because we are now rotating 15 guys," Childs continued. "It is going to be a tremendous boost for us."
Childs was not happy with his practice effort on Friday – the first day in pads – as he dropped some catchable balls.
"Not good at all," Childs said. "This ain't where I need to be at right now. It was the first day. I have to go on and get the kinks out, but tomorrow we have got a scrimmage. It is a half practice, half scrimmage. It is going to be a whole 360 turnaround from this practice today."
"There are no excuses to be said," Childs said. "It was just an off day. I am just going to come back tomorrow and play better."
Getting in Cink
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