NWADG College Football


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8 NWA COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW | 8.28.2022 "It does," Cooper said. "You look at Ohio State's roster and it's lots of players from everywhere and not so many from Ohio. I believed in recruiting nationally when I got to Ohio State. So have the coaches in the years since. Ryan Day is recruiting nationally. "So Luke can get those players Ohio State is passing on inside of Ohio and they are really talented. There are good football players in Ohio and that's the heart of the Cincinnati roster. They will be talented and well coached." Both Arkansas and Cincinnati will feature veteran offensive lines. Cincinnati returns all five starters, three of whom were all-conference last year. "What Luke preaches is the same as what I preached," Cooper said. "You make mistakes – turn it over – then you are going to lose. That's what I taught him." Cincinnati plays a physical brand of football. That's exactly what Pittman is trying to build at Arkansas. That was evident with the way the Hogs played last year in a successful 9-4 breakthrough in Pittman's second season. That's a good place to start in a look at what the Hogs will be like in 2022. Offensive tackle Dalton Wagner, a starter for most of the last three seasons, is proud of the toughness trait the Razorbacks have displayed of late. "We get that from everything we do, starting with our offseason workouts with our strength staff," Wagner said. "What we do with Jamil Walker (head strength and conditioning coach) is a little unique, I think. We love him. Nothing we do is easy, but we know it's the key to how we play." Pittman said the unique part is that Walker's program includes lifts and running on the same days. "I don't think many or any do both on the same day," Pittman said. "I think what he asks is hard. But our guys believe in him. They love him. I think when you know someone cares for you, it means you get a buy in. We have that." Averaging 227 yards on the ground last year, the UA offense is going to come right at teams. Quarterback KJ Jefferson leads the way with true reads in the run-pass option installed by coordinator Kendal Briles. The trick this year is replacing the team's most talented player, first-round draft pick Treylon Burks, the big slot receiver who was Jefferson's go-to man last year. Jefferson drew double coverage from most defenses giving the Hogs some creases in the running game. In a post-spring interview, Briles didn't wait for a reporter to bring up the loss of Burks as his top challenge in calling plays for 2022. "The biggest thing, how do you replace all of the production from Treylon Burks?" said Briles, the third-year playcaller for Pittman. "To me, there's not a plug and play fit on that. It's going to be multiple guys, multiple roles to figure out ways to gather that production on offense. "You can do that with several different players and guys we've talked about. We aren't going to get one guy in here to do that." One of the options was to put backup quarterback Malik Hornsby in the slot to get one of the team's fastest players on the field. That still might happen. Hornsby worked a lot at receiver in the spring and has been there in August practices, too. However, Hornsby still spends his meeting time with the quarterbacks and his development at that position is further proof that his future is there, not at wide receiver. Pittman emphasizes that Hornsby will be given a chance "to win the No. 1 quarterback job," as far fetched as that might sound when Jefferson is listed as among the SEC's most talented signal callers. There were signs in early August that there is plenty of talent at receiver to leave Hornsby in the quarterback meeting room full time. Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwood has turned in wow catches almost every practice. Ketron Jackson has also dazzled, but there are plenty of other options at receiver to give Pittman comfort despite losing Burks and two other starters at wideout. Returnee Warren Thompson has emerged as an every down threat after producing a handful of big plays last season after transferring from Florida State. Miami, Ohio transfer Matt Landers, Share n Continued from Page 6 Hunter Yuraceck (left) | Arkansas Athletic Director Sam Pittman | Arkansas Coach File Photo

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