Arkansas has not dialed back the contact in practice this week, even with the Red-White game coming up on Saturday. In fact, the Razorbacks have increased the hitting during what defensive coordinator Paul Haynes called “a real tough week.” Haynes said the extra work was designed to help the team defense against the run. Recent seasons have seen the Razorbacks struggle against opponents with strong ground games, something Haynes has identified as an area of concern in his first season as defensive coordinator.
Otha Peters (6-1, 227, 4.61) had been committed to Tennessee for several months, but new Arkansas assistant coach Kevin Peoples decided to make a run at him. A run that resulted in the Razorbacks landing a commitment on Tuesday and his signature on Wednesday.
Thanking assistant coaches is a pretty routine part of national signing day. Head coaches across the country routinely give their staffs credit for a year’s recruiting haul. It’s hard to imagine Bobby Petrino ever being more grateful for the assistants than he is this year. Arkansas endured coaching turnover unlike any other year in his tenure. Somehow the new — and late — additions to the staff were able to close strong.
Arkansas will send recruiting coordinator Tim Horton and other assistants to Springfield, Mo., tonight for an in-home visit with 5-star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. It was thought that Coach Bobby Petrino would visit Green-Beckham (6-6, 225), but he will not because of a brief encounter earlier this month with the Parade and USA Today All-American.
Arkansas’ success on the football field has grown considerably since Bobby Petrino took over the program. Petrino’s first team was 5-7 and the program recently capped just the third 11-win season in school history. Also improved since Petrino’s arrival? Assistant coaching salaries.
It appears the Arkansas on-field coaching staff is complete. Following the announcement of Paul Haynes as defensive coordinator a day earlier, Bobby Petrino said the staff’s other defensive opening will be filled by Kevin Peoples, who has been working in an administrative capacity the last two seasons. Peoples previously coached the defensive line at Arkansas State before joining the Razorbacks. Additionally, Steve Caldwell will assume the title of special teams coordinator formerly held by John L. Smith, who left earlier this week to become the head coach at Weber State.
Arkansas football coaches pride themselves on being intense. They run fast-paced, no-nonsense practices and aren’t afraid to let players know when they don’t meet expectations. It’s a tough group of coaches to impress. Get them on the field and they're all business. But when the Razorback staff welcomes a few hundred youth football players — grades 1-4 — to camp later this month, that's different.