NWADG College Football


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WITH APPROVED CREDIT — ON NEW GRASSHOPPER EQUIPMENT — Grand Tuscany by 22 NWA Democrat-Gazette College Football Preview Sunday, August 27, 2017 NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Arkansas Razorbacks defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads works with defensive lineman Briston Guidry as they go through drills July 28 during practice on campus in Fayetteville. because they've got four guys now that can run around as linebackers and are off the ball and get in space. … To be able to get our double teams to the second level is probably the most important part." Bielema said the Razorbacks' recruit- ing at the linebacker positions has im- proved the last few years, and that's a big key in the 3-4. Ramsey and seniors Karl Roesler and Dwayne Eugene are the veterans at the outside spots. The coach- ing staff hopes inexperienced hands like Gabe Richardson, Derrick Munson, Hayden Henry and Alexy Jean-Baptiste, when he returns from a foot injury, can provide much-needed depth at the "Ra- zor" and "Hog" positions. Arkansas outside linebackers coach Chad Walker said the specifics of play- ing Razor and Hog begin with establish- ing the edge against the run and forcing ball carriers to go east and west, rather than straight downfield. "So we're the edge setters," Walker said. "We've got to be stout on the out- side, play with great leverage and be able to turn the ball back inside. And then when it's our turn to spill, sometimes we've got to be able to spill the football. "The next thing we've got to be able to do is affect the quarterback. Wheth- er that's getting the quarterback off the spot, getting batted balls, that type of stuff. When our number's called in the pass game, we've got to go after it, we've got to get him off the spot." The play of the inside linebackers, led by Dre Greenlaw and De'Jon Har- ris, also looms large for the Razorbacks. Ideally, the inside backers stay clear of firing guards, but encroaching linemen will be an obstacle. "With this defense obviously you've got to be able to run on the edge and defeat blocks," inside linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves said. "Because there are going to be times those guys have a chance to come off blocks and get on you, and we've got to able to beat them and then get back downhill and make those tackles in the backfield. "But the lateral movement is the key, man, because of what people are going to try to do us. They're not going to try to pound us down inside. They're going to try to get on the edges, so we've got to get on the edges." Bielema described the process of teaming with Rhoads and putting to- gether the 3-4 concepts Arkansas will employ as fun. "We've had the idea of what we want, what he's used in the past, what I've used in the past," Bielema said. "That will be a very seamless transition from what we've already been doing." Bielema and Rhoads changed all the verbiage but tried to keep the terms and the concepts easy to learn and to make adjustments. "It's not hard to learn the 3-4," Harris said halfway through camp. "Less calls, simple checks, so I think I'm coming a long way with it." The defensive brain trust hopes that attitude prevails among the Razor- backs defenders embarking on the new scheme. "The place that we're trying to find is, what's the best personnel? Where to put it?" Bielema said during the winter. "What coach is going to be working with what? And then try to make that as adjustable as soon as possible for our players. "I think we've recruited a higher cali- ber of athlete here since Year 1 to where we are now. I really like the fact that we'll have eight guys on their feet before the ball is snapped. Athletically, I think we should be able to do that." The Razorbacks will find out soon whether the move to the 3-4 can lead to big-time improvement. Defense v Continued from Page 11

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