FAYETTEVILLE - Things aren't quite as fluid on the defensive line as they are on the offensive line, but Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said there more tweaks to be made on the former as camp has progressed this fall.
One such reason has been the development of freshman Austin Capps. Capps, a freshman from Star City, was a redshirt candidate upon arrival. He has since impressed Bielema, defensive coordinator Robb Smith, defensive line coach Rory Segrest, and even offensive linemen Frank Ragnow and Hjalte Froholdt with his play in just over two weeks. Enough so, in fact, he is knocking on the door of taking over the No. 2 job at nose guard behind senior Taiwan Johnson.
“When he's playing that tilt nose, he had a double-team on him yesterday that was Frank and Hjalte and he was able to push the pocket, which impressed me, and I think it also impressed those two guys trying to stop him,” Bielema said.
Capps has made such an impression, Bielema brought him up during four separate questions during his press conference Wednesday, all without provocation.
The move, too, has shifted Bijhon Jackson, the reserve at nose guard the last two seasons, to play some 3-technique – the team's other defensive tackle spot. Jeremiah Ledbetter is the starter there and TJ Smith, who Bielema had previously said was having some difficulty with his weight, currently remains the top back-up.
Hurtin' and waitin'
Wide receiver Dominique Reed is questionable to be ready for the season opener. His ankle injury is the same ankle that bothered him last year. Bielema hopes to have his ready for Louisiana Tech, if not the week before, but things are to-be-determined. In the meantime, Cody Hollister and Keon Hatcher are seeing reps opposite Drew Morgan at wide receiver on the outside.
Hatcher wore a green jersey during practice Tuesday, signifying limited contact. He told reporters later that day everything was “fine.” Bielema elaborated Wednesday, saying Hatcher had fallen awkwardly on his shoulder and the green jersey was more precaution than anything.
Sixth-year senior running back Kody Walker participated in the morning session of Wednesday's two-a-day practice. He is nursing a foot injury. Freshman Devwah Whaley and sophomore Rawleigh Williams the third, the two backs expected to share bulk of the duties with Walker, saw most of the action during last Saturday's scrimmage. It's likely Juan Day and Connor McPherson, two players just added to the team's 105-man roster, see most of it this upcoming Saturday. Bielema does not want to have any more players hurt.
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