State of the Hogs: Leadership

Ramon Broadway thought he was in trouble. Turns out, he was getting a "do good" speech from the head coach reserved for team captains.

Arkansas senior cornerback Ramon Broadway thought he was in trouble -- until he found Ryan Mallett sitting beside him waiting on a meeting with Bobby Petrino.

"I didn't feel so bad when I saw Ryan waiting out front, too," Broadway said. "All it was, we had been named captains and Coach Petrino wanted to see us.

"You probably don't want to be called to Coach Petrino's office too often. It might be because of something you did."

In this case, it was all good news. Petrino just wanted to challenge each captain to rise up to the job.

"Being a captain means you have to lead the team," Broadway said. "That means Coach Petrino, as the head coach, might be calling on you when things aren't going so well.

"If the team isn't meeting expectations in a certain area, Coach Petrino is going to come to us first. He's going to let us get it corrected first. That's our job."

Petrino, the head coach, has said several times that the leadership on this team has been extra special. Broadway takes that as a compliment.

"We have six captains, three on each side of the ball," Broadway said. "Being a captain isn't easy. You are going to have to say something to a teammate if they aren't doing their job or there needs to be a correction. Ideally, you take care of that before you hear from the head coach.

"But there have been some instances where we as captains have been called to his office to get something right. It's our team and he wants us to do it. We have been able to do it so far."

Broadway hears it on the field, too.

"He's like, ‘Captain! Do you see that! You going to get that fixed?' And we do," Broadway said. "You want to take ownership and it hasn't taken long to do that in any practice. I think that's why the camp has gone pretty well so far."

Defensively, there is leadership. Broadway sees improvement across the board in both that area and talent. Of course, it helps to understand the system.

"I think defense is much improved, but it doesn't really matter what I say about it in camp," Broadway said. "We've been the step childs, this defense. We have to prove it in a game. We have to show it in a game.

"Yes, I think our coverage is tighter. I think our offense knows they have a battle each day in practice. They've seen us improve in the offseason. But it doesn't matter. Nothing matters until we do it in a game. We have to show not talk."

Broadway said it may be that the coverage doesn't have to be as tight.

"I think we are better in the secondary, but it's not going to be as hard for the guys in the back of the defense because of the way the front is playing," Broadway said. "You seen those guys up there? You seen Alfred Davis? You seen Jake Bequette? You seen Damario Ambrose? I can keep going. We are so much better with our pressure up front. We won't have to cover as long."

There is a better look to this defense, from the way the players move to the way they fill out their uniforms.

"Yeah, we don't look the same do we?" Broadway said. "I think our conditioning, our size and our strength is much improved.

"I thought practices would be hard this fall because that's the nature of what we do around here. Coach Petrino is hard on us in practice. But it's been sailing by. I blink my eyes and the practice is done. It isn't tough anymore. Oh, can you take that out? Maybe Coach Petrino doesn't need to read that it isn't hard anymore.

"Really, it's the same. It's just that we are different. It doesn't seem as tough anymore because we know how to practice, how to take care of ourselves and what is expected. There hasn't been a practice this fall that I thought was too much to handle. We are ready for it and we are ready for the season. We can't wait."

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