NWADG College Football


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The Razorbacks held big halftime leads at Missouri in the regular season finale, and against Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl, but were shut out in the second halves of both games and lost them both. Bielema, who has taken pride in pro- ducing teams that finish well, said those failures led to a series self-critiques in the off-season and a tougher winter con- ditioning regimen for the squad. "Our kids have been great," Bielema said. "They've owned and embraced what we didn't do well at the end of the year, focused on what we can do well. "We're going to focus on winning games in the second half, not losing them, putting our best personnel on the field, no matter how that comes about, and then really trying to play and under- stand what it means to be at Arkansas and have that come through." Bielema left a good gig at Wisconsin in 2012 for the challenge of competing in the SEC, and he understands the SEC West is not for the faint of heart. The di- vision, often cited as the toughest in col- lege football, has the stats to back it up. The SEC West has produced six na- tional champions in the last 10 seasons, two more teams who lost in the national championship game and one that lost in a national semifinal. In the only other year out of those 10, the Florida Gators of the SEC East won the national cham- pionship. This is where the Razorbacks dwell. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are on the docket every season, and Arkan- sas is fighting bad trends against two of those division rivals. Alabama has won 10 consecutive games in the series against Arkansas, and Texas A&M has won five in a row. Year five under Bielema presents the Razorbacks plenty of challenges. Defensively, the Hogs are changing to a 3-4 base set under new coordinator Paul Rhoads with a roster mostly fitted for a 4-3 front. "Any time you're transitioning from a four-man front to a three-man front or vice versa, there are recruiting pieces that … take a little time," Rhoads said. "You're not built for a 3-4 if you were a four-man front. "That's the piece we're building for in the future. Right now it's about training the guys that we have on the current roster to do what we're asking them to do the best they can do it. And by the way, there's a game here in a few weeks." The coaching staff believes the new- look defense will allow defenders to line up faster, make quicker pre-snap and in-game adjustments and contend bet- ter with up-tempo Spread offenses that have attacked Arkansas' edges. Defensive backs Santos Ramirez, Kevin Richardson, Josh Liddell, and Ryan Pulley and end McTelvin "Sosa" Agim have become the emotional lead- ers for a unit that knows it didn't defend the run well last season. "It's not just two or three guys talking," Agim said. "You've got every- body trying to lead and show the guys the way. That's why I feel like this year is going to be a great year." Junior linebacker Dre Greenlaw is one of the few veterans in a linebacking crew that he thinks will adapt quickly to the new schemes. "I feel like the 3-4 will be to my ad- vantage," Greenlaw said. "I'll be able to play side to side, because a lot of teams like to attack the edges when they run. I think with my athleticism, I'll be a good fit for that." On offense, an almost exclusively new group of receivers is being counted on to produce with veteran quarterback Austin Allen. On top of that, two of the most Sunday, August 27, 2017 13 NWA Democrat-Gazette College Football Preview v Continued from previous page OFFENSE WR 1 Jared Cornelius 10 Jordan Jones LT 74 Colton Jackson 76 Paul Ramirez LG 51 Hjalte Froholdt 50 Jake Raulerson C 72 Frank Ragnow 75 Zach Rogers RG 62 Johnny Gibson 79 Jalen Merrick RT 60 Brian Wallace 57 Shane Clenin TE 44 Austin Cantrell 85 Cheyenne O'Grady WR 13 Deon Stewart 5 Brandon Martin WR 16 La'Michael Pettway 7 Jonathan Nance QB 8 Austin Allen 4 Ty Storey or 15 Cole Kelley FB 34 Kendrick Jackson 32 Hayden Johnson TB 21 Devwah Whaley 33 David Williams PK 9 Cole Hedlund 92 Blake Mazza KR 13 Deon Stewart 1 Chevin Calloway 81 Jarrod Barnes DEFENSE LE 3 McTelvin "Sosa" Agim 90 Armon Watts NT 78 Bijhon Jackson 41 Austin Capps RE 52 T.J. Smith 7 Briston Guidry RAZOR LB 10 Randy Ramsey 35 Dwayne Eugene MLB 8 De'Jon Harris 33 Dee Walker WLB 23 Dre Greenlaw 31 Grant Morgan HOG LB 96 Karl Roessler 6 Gabe Richardson FC 11 Ryan Pulley 2 Kamren Curl S 9 Santos Ramirez 38 Reid Miller SS 20 De'Andre Coley 28 Josh Liddell BC 5 Henre' Toliver 14 Britto Tutt NICKEL 30 Kevin Richardson 28 Josh Liddell P 18 Blake Johnson 92 Blake Mazza LS 49 Robert Decker 48 Jordan Silver PR 5 Henre' Toliver 1 Jared Cornelius Arkansas Depth Chart See HOGS, Page 14

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