4. College Football News Preview 2020: Arkansas Razorbacks Defense 3 Things To Know
– It all tied together – the offense was really bad and got off the field in a hurry. The defense really couldn’t get off the field, made the other side press, and it all turned into a symphony of awful.
But head coach Sam Pittman made one fantastic move right out of the gate – he hired former Missouri head coach Barry Odom has his defensive coordinator.
He loses leading tackler De’Jon Harris from the linebacking corps, and not having McTelvin Agim on the defensive front hurts, but just about everyone else is back. Give the former coaching staff credit for at least cranking up a youth movement with the hopes of a big payoff starting this season.
– The linebacking corps should be an early plus. Along with the great name, Bumper Pool has the game – finishing second on the team with 94 stops – working from his spot on the outside. Grant Morgan might take over for Harris in the middle but can work anywhere. Start with those two, throw in senior Hayden Henry and Oklahoma transfer Levi Draper somewhere in the mix, and the Hogs should be solid here.
The line will be the interesting part early on depending on what Odom wants to change up and do. Three starters are gone from a line that stunk against the run and didn’t generate a pass rush, but other than that, things were great.
There actually is promise on the ends, starting with the addition of Clemson transfer Xavier Kelly. Matalo Soli and Zack Williams are underclassmen who can move, and 6-3, 265-pound former JUCO transfer Dorian Gerald should find a home after getting injured right out of the gate last year.
The problem is the lack of bulk on the inside – the Hogs are more about quickness than 330-pound masses of humanity. 6-3, 309-pound senior Jonathan Marshall has to be an anchor if it’s not 6-5, 300-pound redshirt freshman Marcus Miller.
– No pass rush meant few interceptions and not enough stops, from the defensive backs – they allowed way too many big plays, allowed over eight yards per pass in seven of the 11 games against FBS teams, and only intercepted six passes.
On the plus side, it was a really, really young group that returns everyone of not by S Kamren Curl, who left early and was drafted by Washington in the seventh round.
There’s going to be a ton of moving around of the versatile parts, with third-leading tackler Joe Foucha finding a spot somewhere among the safeties, and corner Montaric Brown also seeing time at some job with his all-around skills.