New University of Arkansas receivers coach Kris Cinkovich now sees what all the fuss is about.
He was instructing a wideout at practice when Razorback starting quarterback Ryan Mallett – not dressed out this spring because of an injury but still able to toss some passes in non-contact situations – whizzed a toss by.
"I saw it out of the corner of my eye yesterday because I coach the wide receivers and don't coach the quarterbacks," Cinkovich said. "I saw a ball go zipping by. I turned around and saw him and didn't realize that he was doing that.
"That ball had a nice firm trajectory and velocity to it," Cinkovich added. "Ryan loves football. Your talking about a thoroughbred, pulling him and not letting him out of the paddock since he can't be out here doing much.
"I know he is excited and I know the players are excited because he is obviously the leader of this team," Cinckovich continued. "It is obviously great to have him back out here."
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Cinkovich summed up his feelings on the last few days when it comes to his receivers.
"I thought last Friday we came out and we performed," Cinkovich said. "Our grades were better on our assignments and our effort area was better. Our technique wasn't quite where I want it, but we got improvement. We did make some plays.
"Yesterday I thought we were so-so, but today I thought we came out and showed some toughness," Cinkovoich added. "Just like (Arkansas head) Coach (Bobby) Petrino just told the team, we practiced tough today and I think the receivers were also part of that."
The new coach said he got after his troops before practice on Wednesday.
"We were demanding of them in the meeting today and we pushed," Cinkovich said. "This was going to be a tough practice. When we do our run/play-action and we do all that team (work), guys are going to put some miles in. But that is part of the privlidge of being a receiver here at Arkansas. Don't worry about it, just go play hard. We got that today and I think that is some of the toughness that coach is talking about."
While Arkansas has a trio of established wideouts in juniors-to-be Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright, they have been a lot of eyes this spring on youngsters Cobi Hamilton and Lance Ray as well as converted tailback De'Anthony Curtis.
"Cobi is doing some solid things," Cinkovich said. "We are probably not getting him the ball as much as we have been trying to, not as much as we want. But I do think he is making gains and improvement as a receiver."
Ray missed several practices due to injury.
"I am glad Lance Ray is back in," Cinkovich said. "He has doesn't much yet, but we at least have got to get him out there and get him taught so he can participate in our system."
"Obviously De'Anthony Curtis continues to do good things and really has continue to do good things," Cinkocivh said. "He really has been very consistent and continues to get a little bit better every day…I am going to say that we have been pleasantly surprised and very happy that he continues too improve."
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While Cinkovich knew he was stepping into a good situation, he knew there was work to be done.
"It was good, but there are always areas you have got to pick on and improve," Cinkovich said. "That is what we are trying to do – be more focused as route runners. We are trying to be great every down players, great technicians. Little things like never false step in coming off the line. Some minute things that will eventually make us better receivers. We are trying to focus on that and just continue with these guys development.
"There is something every day that you can get better at," Cinkovich added. "That is part of my job as a coach that attitude with that."
Cinkovich will be hoping to see improvement in two areas during Friday's scrimmage.
"We have got to do a better job after the catch as far as what we call bull yards," Cinkovich said. "We think we need to have more yardage after the catch and we think our play-action, over-the-top game has got to come alive a little bit more."
The other is the group's blocking.
"It's okay, but it's not good enough yet," Cinkovich said. "It is going to get better. We are getting the hustle part down. Blocking is 90 percent desire, 10 percent technique. So we are going to work on the desire a little bit more and we will get it right."
Cinking His Teeth In
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