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2010 Arkansas Preview – Offense
Arkansas TE D.J. Williams
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Arkansas Razorback Offense
Preview 2010 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee gets to step into a loaded situation, and as long as QB Ryan Mallett is healthy, the attack should blow up. After finishing 20th in the nation, and third in the SEC, in total offense, and first in the league in both scoring and passing, the Hogs should go ballistic with Mallett working with (arguably) the nation’s deepest and best receiving corps led by TE D.J. Williams and a slew of very big, very fast veterans who can all hit the home run. With a form of the Pistol offense being implemented (at least from time to time), Mallett should be able to utilize the downfield passing game even more while being able to get his deep backs more involved. The Hogs have four good runners who can all produce behind a pedestrian, but veteran line.
Star of the offense: Junior QB Ryan Mallett
Passing: Ryan Mallett
225-403, 3,624 yds, 30 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Broderick Green
104 carries, 442 yds, 11 TD
Receiving: Greg Childs
48 catches 894 yds, 7 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OG Grant Cook
Unsung star on the rise: Junior RB Dennis Johnson
Best pro prospect: Mallett
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Mallett, 2) TE D.J. Williams, 3) WR Greg Childs
Strength of the offense: Mallett, Receivers
Weakness of the offense: Line Depth, Backup QB Experience
Projected Starter: Junior Ryan Mallett might not have gone No. 1 overall to St. Louis in the 2010 NFL Draft, but he would’ve been considered. At 6-7 and 238 pounds, he has tremendous size, a huge arm, and is a pure pro bomber who’s expected to take Arkansas to a whole other level. After starting out his career at Michigan, and getting a few starts as a true freshman completing 61-of-141 passes for 892 yards and seven scores, the hiring of Rich Rodriguez meant the end of Mallett’s time in Ann Arbor. A perfect fit for Bobby Petrino’s offense, he has all the throws in the bag and is a fiery leader who’s the unquestioned main man in the offense.
Expected to shine right away after getting a year off after transferring, he blew up from the start highlighted by a 409-yard, five touchdown day in the loss to Georgia and continued to roll from there. He finished the season as the SEC’s best passer completing 56% of his throws for 3,624 yards and 30 touchdowns with seven interceptions, and while he had his problems against the teams with the better pass rushes, he managed to fight back from adversity to make big plays. He might have completed 12-of-27 passes against Florida, but he had the Hogs in the game up until the end. However, consistency will be a key and he needs to be far better against the top teams. Against Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, LSU, and in the bowl against East Carolina, he completed 68-of-171 of his throws (just 39.7%) and with five touchdown passes while never throwing for more than 254 yards.
Coming back from a broken foot that kept him out all spring, he should be 100% with the potential to put up video game-like numbers. He has everyone of note back to throw to, and he has the experience in the offense. It’s all there to push for a 4,000-yard, 40 touchdown season even with the SEC schedule he has to deal with.
Projected Top Reserves: Considering Mallett’s foot concerns, sophomore Tyler Wilson could be the starter sooner than any Hog fan might like. The 6-3, 215-pounder fits the system and the style of offense, and he has the talent to be a good one if and when Mallett leaves for the NFL after this season. An Arkansas high school superstar, winning three state titles and throwing for close to 4,000 yards and 42 touchdowns as a senior, he has the prep résumé. What he doesn’t have is Mallett’s arm and top talent, but he’s good enough to eventually be a star in this offense. He got a little bit of time last year completing 61% of his throws for 218 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
6-2, 212-pound Jacoby Walker was a top recruit who adds more of a rushing element to the mix. While he’s not a special runner, he’s mobile enough to take off from time to time and crank out yards in chunks, and he’s a strong, accurate passer with the upside to be a stat-sheet filler. Wanted as a dual-threat playmaker by places like Nebraska, Utah, and Oklahoma State, he’ll make a push for the No. 2 job.
Watch Out For … Mallett’s foot. It’s not an overstatement to call Mallett’s foot injury the key to the SEC season. Arkansas might not win the SEC title, but with Mallett it can come up with a few major wins and can be a player. The dynamic changes if he’s hurt.
Strength: Mallett. He might be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, or at the very least he’s a bomber who can be a bigger superstar at the collegiate level. Arkansas is never going to be out of any game when he’s under center.
Weakness: Proven reserves. Arkansas is a veteran team with the potential to be in the SEC West race until the end, but it needs a strong leader under center. Wilson has talent and upside, but he has just a wee bit of experience and might not be SEC-title ready like Mallett is.
Outlook: Mallett might be the best bomber in college football, and the sky’s the limit with his experience and with all the talent around him. Wilson and Walker are good backup prospects who need more seasoning and more time, but as long as Mallett is healthy, the Arkansas passing game will be among the most efficient and effective in America.
Unit Rating: 8.5
Projected Starters: Spin the wheel and you’ll have the right running back in the four-man rotation. The most impressive of the bunch this offseason was junior Dennis Johnson , a 5-9, 213-pound quick back who has been a superior kickoff returner, averaging 25.78 yards per game while running for 342 yards and catching ten passes for 72 yards. A scat back who has yet to be a factor around the goal line, he’s a dangerous runner who was more decisive in his cuts and far more productive in spring ball. He might not be a workhorse, but he’s ready to shine.
Arkansas doesn’t always use or need a fullback, but senior Von Stumon is a good veteran who can step in and be a productive factor as a big blocker. At 6-1 and 266 pounds, he’s huge and very physical, but he’s not going to run much, getting two carries for four yards, and making one catch for a two-yard score. He has to get over a shoulder injury, but he’s expected to be fine for the start of the season.
Projected Top Reserves: At 6-3 and 227 pounds, sophomore Ronnie Wingo is a big, tough back who played a big role as a true freshman averaging 6.5 yards per carry running for 319 yards and three touchdowns, while catching five passes for 99 yards and a score. He has bulked up in the last year and hasn’t lost a step, and while he’s quick, he brings a load when he meets up with a tackler. Used mostly in garbage time last year, he could end up being the No. 1 back sooner than later.
6-0, 216-pound Knile Davis was solid as a true freshman running for 163 yards and four touchdowns with 59 yards and two scores against Eastern Michigan and 26 yards against Auburn. While not a speed back and not exceptionally quick, he’s a physical inside runner who’s a great punisher. He’ll add power to a fast offense.
The Hogs have other options at fullback, and 6-2, 248-pound Broderick Green is a tailback, but he’ll occasionally be used like a big blocker and hard runner. A special back around the goal line, he ran for 11 scores, and caught an eight-yard touchdown pass against Texas A&M, while leading the way with 442 yards with 134 coming against Eastern Michigan. The former USC Trojan has been good whenever he has the ball in his hands, and he should be the finisher who comes in when the offense is trying to hang on to a lead.
Watch Out For … Johnson. The best in a crowded lot this offseason, Johnson is poised for a breakthrough season with the quickness and upside to help make the offense more two-dimensional.
Strength: Options. Johnson, Green, Wingo, Davis … the Hogs have several good runners who can all produce and crank out more than five yards per carry. There’s speed, power, and talent, and after using four backs who ran for 300 yards or more, there will be even more of a rotation.
Weakness: The offense. It’s not like the Hogs ignored the ground game, averaging 132 yards per game with 23 scores, but the attack is built around Ryan Mallett and the passing attack. Some of the backs came to the program looking to be the next Darren McFadden or Felix Jones, and now they’re mainly role players.
Outlook: It’s a strength in numbers situation. The Hogs have several excellent backs who can carry the load at any time. It should say something about the depth to lose a playmaker like Michael Smith and still be loaded, but with the emergence of Johnson, the power of Green, and the talent of WIngo and Davis, the running attack should shine when needed.
Unit Rating: 8
Projected Starters: With several excellent targets taking turns getting the ball, junior Greg Childs stood out emerging as the team’s leading receiver catching 48 passes for 894 yards and seven scores, averaging 18.6 yards per catch. The 6-3, 217-pounder has excellent speed around the X was a big play performer as a freshman and was steady and explosive throughout last year, highlighted by his tremendous touchdown against Florida to keep the Hogs alive. Strong in the big games, his three 100-yard performances came against Georgia, Florida, and LSU, and he came up with four catches for 60 yards and a score against Alabama. The potential is there to be among the league’s best receivers, or at least the most statistically productive.
5-10, 180-pound Jarius Wright showed the potential for blowing up last offseason, and he started out red hot catching ten passes for 247 yards and a score in the first two games. While he finished second on the team with 41 catches for 681 yards and five scores, and he was steady enough to make two or three catches per game and finished with 16.6 yards per grab. Dangerously quick at the inside Z position, he’s unstoppable in single coverage.
As one of the team’s most dangerous and steady targets, 5-11, 182-pound junior Joe Adams should be in for another all-star season after earning second-team honors last year. Despite missing a few games hurt, he still managed to catch 29 passes for 568 yards and seven touchdowns averaging 19.59 yards per catch. Exploding has never been a problem, but staying healthy and staying on the field hasn’t been easy.
In the hunt for All-America honors will be senior D.J. Williams , one of the nation’s top receiving tight ends with the skills to the NFL right now. Only 6-2, but 251 pounds, he’s built more like a fullback, but he has phenomenal hands catching 61 passes for 732 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore before making 32 grabs for 411 yards and three scores last year. With the upgrade in wide receiver he wasn’t needed quite as much, but he still produced whenever he got the chance … against the mediocre. While he caught seven passes for 137 yards against South Carolina, he was shut out against Florida, Ole Miss, and LSU, and he was held to two catches for 26 yards against Alabama. The talent is there to become a 50-catch playmaker and a go-to target across the middle.
Projected Top Reserves:
6-3, 209-pound sophomore Cobi Hamilton got in a little bit of work and produced whenever he got the chance making 19 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns averaging 18.3 yards per grab. A track star who was good enough to be in the AAU Junior Olympics and led the Texas state champion 4x200 meter relay team, he has next-level wheels to get deep on a regular basis. The former high school teammate of Ryan Mallett, he’s on the same page with his passer.
The sky’s the limit for redshirt freshman Lance Ray, a 6-3, 207-pound speedster who was physical enough to be considered a possible safety prospect and too talented to not be a factor on the outside X. He’ll work behind Greg Childs, but he’ll find a spot somewhere to make sure he gets involved early. Wanted by LSU, Ole Miss, and other BCS schools, he has the potential to be the team’s No. 1 receiver down the road.
Senior Ben Cleveland is a veteran backup tight end who has spent the last few years working behind D.J. Williams and in two-tight end sets. The 6-4, 256-pounder caught just three passes for 33 yards, but he’s a big blocker who got the start against Florida and can be counted on for the ground game. He has the hands and he has the experience, but he’s a bit of a forgotten man in the passing attack.
Watch Out For … Hamilton. It’s not like Arkansas is lacking for big, talented speedsters, but Hamilton has the biggest upside of the bunch. With his wheels and his size, he has all the tools, and he showed against Mississippi State, catching three passes for 131 yards and two scores, that he can be a superior home-run hitter.
Strength: Size and speed. Even the smallish receivers in this group go around 5-10 and 180 pounds, while most of the top options are 6-3-plus and more than 200 pounds. Everyone can fly and everyone can get deep on a passing attack that averaged 15.6 yards per catch.
Weakness: Expectations … Nitpicking time for a group that doesn’t have any weaknesses. If Ryan Mallett has foot problems or is out for any length of time, can the receivers carry the quarterback or is it Mallett who made everyone else shine? It’s probably a little bit of both.
Outlook: Considering Arkansas was 112th in the nation in passing in 2007, things have made a total about-face. With three great starters in Adams, Childs, and Wright, and with an All-America tight end in Williams, the Hogs are loaded. The top five receivers from last year are back and they’re all fast, they can all produce, and they should all go ballistic with Mallett throwing for them.
Unit Rating: 10
Projected Starters: 6-4, 329-pound senior Ray Dominguez was a key reason why the Hogs turned around the production of the line against the pass. The big, strong veteran struggled in the transition to the new offense a few years ago, being brought in as a great pounder for the running game, but he was steadier last year keeping the quarterback clean. He was hardly a rock and he’s not great against speed rushers, but he’s reliable.
A spot starter, junior Greg Cook will get a longer look at the starting guard job, replacing Jonathan Luigs, after getting the call in the first three games of last year. While he struggled too much and way replaced by Wade Grayson, he was still a key backup. At 6-4 and 322 pounds, he’s a very big, very strong blocker who should shine brightest for the ground game.
Ready to blossom into a start at the weak guard is DeMarcus Love, a 6-5, 315-pounder with great feet and plenty of experience. Back for his third year as the starter, he’s in better shape, proved he’s not a guard playing tackle, and showed just enough to hope for even more in pass protection. With 24 career starts, he knows what he’s doing.
Originally considered a center prospect, Wade Grayson ended up starting the final ten games at guard. The team’s most versatile lineman, he can play any spot on the line and he has the make up to be the quarterback for the front five at center, but instead he’ll used his 6-4, 302-pound frame to work next to Ray Dominguez.
In a wee bit of a surprise, 6-4, 315-pound junior Seth Oxner took over the starting center job, vacated by former Rimington Award winner, Jonathan Luigs, and was excellent. The big veteran wasn’t always perfect and he’ll have to continue to fight for his job, but he’s growing into the position.
Projected Top Reserves: Pushing hard for time at tackle is rising star Anthony Oden , a great-looking 6-8, 328-pound sophomore who was terrific this offseason and might be the type of pass protector to build an offense around. He got a start as a true freshman against Alabama and was a key backup in six other games. While there were some rocky moments, for the most part he was solid.
A spot starter getting time in the middle of the year against Ole Miss and Eastern Michigan, junior Grant Freeman showed nice promise at tackle. The 6-7, 298-pounder has the length to lock on to pass rushers and he has just enough athleticism to move well. Able to play either tackle spot, he’ll see time where needed in the rotation.
Watch Out For … Love. The senior has been around long enough to be the leader and the top blocker for the line, and he showed this offseason that he’s ready to be better. He picks up the blitz well, moves like a much smaller player, and was more consistent.
Strength: Size. Experience is also a plus with four starters returning, but the key is the sheer bulk. Most of the linemen were brought in to crush open holes for the Houston Nutt running game, and anyone under 6-4 and 300 pounds need not apply to see time on this line.
Weakness: Consistency. It was better than two years ago, but the line still struggled a bit too much from one week to the next. It was a decent line that improved after getting the quarterbacks killed a few years ago, but now, even without Petrus, it has to be more dominant.
Outlook: Petrus was the dominant run blocker the rest of the line worked around, and while four starters might be back, the hope is to find someone who can quickly take over that role. Love is growing into a good one, and with Freeman, Dominquez, and Oden, the Hogs have a huge group of rebounders, and some pretty good tackles. The interior is fine, but nothing special.
Unit Rating: 7
- 2010 Arkansas Preview |
2010 Arkansas Defense |
Arkansas Depth Chart
- Arkansas Previews