2014 Arkansas Preview: What You Need To Know
Arkansas DE Trey Flowers
Arkansas DE Trey Flowers
Posted Jun 8, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Arkansas (Getty Images)

2014 Arkansas Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Arkansas Preview  
What You Need To Know About The Offense: The coaching staff wants to run the ball and run it some more, and things are starting to come around with an outstanding group of running backs working behind a huge offensive line with big-time potential. There will be times when the Hogs bludgeon defenses to death on the ground, but to be able to hang around with the bigger teams, the passing game has to come around and that means quarterback Brandon Allen has to be more consistent and more accurate. Things might change if there was another solid option, but offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has his man – now he needs weapons. Hunter Henry has the upside to be among the nation’s top tight ends, but the receivers need to be better.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: Generating more turnovers is a must, and being a bit stronger against the run would be nice, but overall, this was a good D that should be even stronger with a little bit of time. New defensive coordinator Robb Smith has a lot to work with. The secondary is deep and has options, but it has to be stronger after giving up too many deep plays and not coming up with enough picks. The pass rush should still be solid even without Chris Smith and some of the other key parts, but it might take a while to find the right rotation to help out Trey Flowers at one end. Braylon Mitchell and the linebackers have the potential to be terrific.

Players You Need To Know

1. RB Alex Collins, Soph.
After all of the drama and all of the craziness to get him to finally sign on to join the program – his mom wasn’t too excited about her son choosing Arkansas over Miami – he showed glimpses of greatness early on finishing with a team-leading 1,026 yards and four scores averaging 5.6 yards per pop and catching 11 passes for 63 yards. At 5-11 and 216 pounds, he’s built to take a bit of a pounding to go along with the quickness and burst to tear off yards in chunks. There’s NFL upside and skills, but now he has to show he can roll through an entire season after hitting the 100-yard mark in the first three games – all wins – and in four of the first five games, and not getting there the rest of the way closing out with 28 yards on 11 carries against LSU. Even so, he didn’t have a problem producing in a rotation with Jonathan Williams.

2. DE Trey Flowers, Sr.
While two of his five sacks came in the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, and he cranked out just two more until the season-finale against LSU, but he did a good job of getting behind the line spreading out 13.5 tackles for loss throughout the season with 44 tackles. At 6-4 and 267 pounds, he has the size to go along with the quickness to be disruptive and dangerous as a pass rusher. He’ll have to be used to being keyed on by double teams, but he’ll still put up big numbers.

3. RB Jonathan Williams, Jr.
Every bit as dangerous as Alex Collins last year, Williams ripped off 100 yards in the first three games with three scores, and finished second on the team with 900 yards and four scores helped by a 104-yard day against Auburn. He also added seven catches on the season for 72 yards and two touchdowns, doing a terrific job whenever he got the ball in the open field. The 6-0, 223-pound back has a great combination of size and speed with the toughness to get through the hole in a hurry and the cutback ability to make things happen on his own. Expect 1,000 yards, even in a rotation.

4. SS Alan Turner, Sr.
Originally thought of as a key backup, he turned into a top starter working at strong safety and coming up with a team-leading 97 tackles with two picks and five broken up passes. At 6-0 and 200 pounds he’s not huge, but he’s tough as nails against the run and proved he could handle himself against the pass as the season went on. He closed strong with 16 tackles against Mississippi State and 11 more and an interception against LSU.

5. TE Hunter Henry, Soph.
Bret Bielema didn’t bring in many top receiver prospects in his first haul last year, but he came up with a terrific tight end in Henry, a 6-6, 251-pound target who finished second on the team with 28 catches for 409 yards and four scores, averaging 14.6 yards per grab – he was one of the team’s most dangerous deep threats. With great size and outstanding receiving skills, he has it all, and now he filled out his frame to look the NFL part. With improved quarterback play, he could become an all-star.

6. LB Braylon Mitchell, Sr.
A good-sized all-around linebacker who spent last season on the strongside, the 6-3, 231-pounder tied for second on the team with 77 tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss. With his frame and his tremendous quickness, he’s built for the outside as a dangerous pass rusher if he’s allowed to turn it loose. A phenomenal recruit four years ago, he finally started to play up to his tremendous talent and potential, and now he appears ready to do even more as one of the keys to the defense.

7. OT Brey Cook, Sr.
A superstar recruit when he first signed on, he saw time in almost every game as a true freshman before being moved around a bit. Settled in now at tackle, the 6-7, 328-pounder has the size and athleticism to be on the NFL radar as a right tackle or guard, but he needs to be even more of a blaster of a run blocker – pass protection isn’t an issue.

8. OG Dan Skipper, Soph.
Not just a top blocker for the offense, the 6-10, 315-pound star O line recruit of 2012 turned into a huge factor on special teams blocking three kicks. While he has tackle size, and could end up working on the outside after spending most of last season at left guard. He’s not necessarily built for the position, and doesn’t get great leverage because of his frame, but he’s a huge-bodied blocker who gets into his man and does a great job for the ground attack.

9. RB Korliss Marshall, Soph.
The third wheel going into the season, the 6-0, 203-pounder has the talent and ability to handle the ground game on his own if given the chance. He ran for 146 yards, averaging 8.6 yards per pop – he got the start against Mississippi State - but his real worth was as a kick returner averaging 22.2 yards per try. He’s fast, big, and he showed this offseason that he’s too good to not to get the ball in his hands in the backfield on a regular basis.

10. QB Brandon Allen, Jr.
He had his moments. The 6-3, 216-pounder had a hard time hanging on to the job, and struggled too much with his accuracy and consistency, but he has the size, the arm and the upside to grow into the starting role after completing just under half of his passes for 1,552 yards and 13 touchdowns with ten picks. He can run a bit to get around, netting a positive 29 yards with a score, but all that matters is his ability to get the ball down the field a bit more and make the key plays when he needs to. A pure pro-style passer who led the way to the Arkansas state championship with close to 4,000 passing yards and 42 touchdowns, he can throw, and now he has to be more dangerous.

- 2014 Arkansas Preview