Five things I think I know about spring football (so far)
1. The defensive line will be just fine. Sure they lost Trey Flowers and Darius Philon, but they have potential stars ready to take those spots….you just don’t know their names yet. Jeremiah Ledbetter will not be a JUCO guy that has to wait around to make his presence known. He will make an impact in game one. JaMichael Winston, Bijhon Jacksonand Deatrich Wise will all be very good players for the Hogs as well. Also, don’t forget about newcomer Hjalte Froholdt who hails from Denmark. He looks the part already as well and that’s without much work with strength coach Ben Herbert. As good as the reputation is for Arkansas’ offensive line, its my belief that the Hogs will get lots of attention for having a solid defensive line in 2015, more so than last year.
2. Brandon Allen will have a big year. He isn’t the perfect quarterback but as Garrick McGee once said “there has never been a perfect quarterback in history.” I think Allen will have a big year because Dan Enos is, in my view, a massive upgrade over Jim Cheney. Enos brings with him instant credibility with all the quarterbacks because he played the position. He has been more vocal in two practices that I have seen than in any of the practices I observed when Cheney was in charge. Cheney was, it seemed like, mailing it in most of the time at Arkansas. Enos is hungry, he is passionate about his job and he is going to help Brandon Allen out a lot. Bret Bielema told us that the offense is simpler now and that usually means less thinking and more yards.
3. Ty Storey is going to be good. Real good. This year isn’t his time but it is going to come and this guy is going to be a player. He already looks the part and he should be worried about his prom date, not reading SEC defenses, right now. I really like the way he barks out the cadence. He does it with a presence and an authority of a guy who has been around awhile. Those that know him well say he is mature beyond his years. Bielema will not start a true freshman at quarterback so he won’t play this year. However in 2016, I think you will all get to see what the hype is all about.
4. Figuring out who will kick may be an adventure again. None of the kickers really stood out to me the other day which could be trouble. As the old saying goes, if you have two quarterbacks then you have no quarterback at all. I wonder if the same is true with placekicker. The biggest problem with this spot on the roster is you can’t really figure out how guys will respond till they are in real games. If Arkansas doesn’t have one of these guys rise up and grab this job, not having a kicker could cost the Hogs a game next year, maybe even two. It didn’t help not having a kicker last year, there’s no doubt about that.
5. When Jojo Robinson matures, he will be special. OK, he is already a special talent. He threw down a defensive back in a team scrimmage on Saturday on the sideline. I don’t remember the last time I saw an Arkansas wide receiver do that. He is the answer at wide receiver, he can be Brandon Allen’s go to, big play guy. However, like all young players, he has to stay confident but not cocky. If he can avoid any more bumps in the road like the one that got him purposely left off the pre spring depth chart, he will be a huge asset who now may be having a legit passing game develop in front of us. Some of the freshmen that aren’t even on campus yet, if they live up to the billing, can help Arkansas sooner rather than later.
Bonus observation: Everyone on the roster looks bigger than they are listed in the program. Ty Storey is supposed to be 6’2” but he looks bigger than that. Jojo Robinson is listed at under six foot but he looks taller than that. I don’t know who got the measuring tape out on these guys but I think they used some conservative measurements. That is until you get to Dan Skipper. He looks every bit the 6’10” that he is listed in the program. How he can bend down to get into a stance before the snap of the ball is still amazing to see.