The Razorback coaching staff admits the team is thin at linebacker and is searching for more options. Mainstays Jerry Franklin and Jerico Nelson are gone. Tenarius Wright's move to the middle fills a gap and Alonzo Highsmith's back and fully recovered from a chest muscle injury.
"The best thing Alonzo did while he was hurt and even this whole summer is he studied the game,' defensive coordinator Paul Haynes said. "That's what makes me excited. He's studying the best because he wants to be the best."
The rest of the depth chart, outside of senior Terrell Willaims, lacks game experience. Incoming recruits might need to step up and step in. Vin Ascolese is yet to get cleared academically, but Otha Peters shows great promise.
"It's kind of hard to tell,once they get out there and get thrown into the fire," Haynes explained. "But that's the exciting thing about it. He has all the tools. He has what you want. Now let's see him get out there and do it."
The coaching staff's also looking internally for more help. Fullback, and resident facemask buster, Kiero Small excelled at linebacker in high school and junior college.
"He's too good a football player to have on the sideline," Haynes remarked. "So we've got to figure out what's the best way to put him in there, the smarted way to put him in there, and get him in tehre and do it. But he's excited about doing it."