It didnít take long for Arkansas fullback Kiero Small to become a fan favorite.
A few big blocks, springing running backs for big gains in 2012. A few bent facemasks thanks to repeated collisions. It was all a recipe for admiration.
But the Baltimore native, who is preparing for his second season with the program after transferring from junior college, isnít done finding a permanent spot in the hearts of Razorback fans. Thatís because Small has gone old school on everyone this preseason, spending time at both fullback and linebacker throughout workouts.
Small, who Arkansas deemed too talented to play at just fullback, has earned a spot on the depth chart at both positions this month. He remains the starting fullback, who will pave the way for running back Knile Davis this season. He also is listed as the No. 2 middle linebacker behind starter Tenarius Wright and is expected to earn some quality work at the position during Saturdayís season opener.
Small met with the media Tuesday as Arkansas continued preparing for Saturdayís opener against Jacksonville State. He spoke about being on the depth chart at both positions this week, how tiring going two ways can be in practice, and the challenge of flipping back and forth between red and white jerseys during practices.
Here is this weekís Q&A:
Q: What does it mean to be playing linebacker for this team?
A: ďTank (Wright) is the starter, so Iíll probably be playing in spots. But Iím pretty excited just to go and play against some other people. Weíve been going against each other a long time.Ē
Q: Where have you improved the most at linebacker this month?
A: ďMy pass coverage. It has probably been my biggest thing. Iíve always been a downhill, physical-type guy. But just understanding the scheme and my pass coverage, I think Iím improving slowly.Ē
Q: The coaches gave you a chance to prove you could play both positions. Youíve proven it in practice. What does it mean?
A: ďIt means a lot. There arenít too many guys that go both ways. So for them to have the faith in me to do it, especially in the SEC, it was pretty big.Ē
Q: They also said they have to be careful not to wear you down. How tiring is it?
A: ďYou get tired, but everybody out there gets tired. You have to fight through it. The coaching staff does a pretty good job of keeping me fresh. So itís normal.Ē
Q: Youíre the only guy with one of these (a red cover that slips over his white jersey). How tricky has this been going from red to white?
A: ďThis helps you. When you have to switch the jerseys and stuff it takes a longer time. Putting this thing on right here, it helps the transition go quicker.Ē
Q: What has been more fun: Fullback or Linebacker?
A: ďItís hard to say which one. Fullback, I know everything. I know what Iím doing. Linebacker is a challenge. Iím still learning. Iíve got a pretty good idea what Iím going to do. So itís even.Ē
The Thursday Q&A is a weekly feature on the Hog Blog. Questions and answers come from group interview sessions with Arkansas players and coaches. So we canít take credit for all of the questions that appear in the Q&A Ė especially the good ones!