FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Much of the attention during Arkansas’ fall camp has been focused on the offensive line and the various configurations the coaches have used, but little has been talked about in regard to progress as a team as whole.
Coach Bret Bielema said Wednesday night the offense is “right on par” with where he thought it would be, but Bielema did say that coaches will look to solidify the starting offensive line by week’s end.
"I want to get to a point probably by next Tuesday, maybe 10 days out from our game (against Louisiana Tech), where we feel good about where we're at with the top five and go and let the other guys serve as the second unit or sub in in certain packages," Bielema said.
The last few practices that have involved installation of offensive packages for first, second and third downs has included the same four guys: Dan Skipper, Hjalte Froholdt, Frank Ragnow and Jake Raulerson. The only position that has any uncertainty seems to be right guard, which hasn't slowed the progress of Arkansas' installations.
"With installation of packages and sub-packages comes a learning curve for all the players," offensive coordinator Dan Enos said. "We’ve continued to move forward in some areas and in some areas we’ve slowed down to allow guys to catch up."
Enos said there is "a fine line between overdoing it with the young guys, but obviously we have some veteran players that need to continue."
"We're pretty much there," he said. "We've been through every situation up to this point in time. Now it's just dialing in what we do, install-wise, to get ready for our first couple opponents."
A guy to watch as sub-packages get implemented on defense is true freshman linebacker Dee Walker.
"Dee Walker is another guy to keep your eyes on," Smith said. "I thought he really flashed."
Bielema said senior cornerback D.J. Dean likely will redshirt this season after missing the spring with a toe injury and falling behind in fall camp because of a hamstring issue.
"I think that missing this spring really, really has put him behind some of those guys," Bielema said. "The good news is the other people have really come along in our two-deep."
Dean's injury opens the door for sophomores Ryan Pulley and Britto Tutt to see more time behind starters Jared Collins and Henre Tolliver.
"We got some pieces there that we can certainly move," Smith said. "I like the guys we have."
(You can follow Chad Neipling on Twitter @SEC_Chad)
© 2016, Chad Neipling. All rights reserved.
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