Arkansas football: 6 biggest questions I still have as the Hogs head to the offseason
Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks will conclude spring workouts this week. Following an indoor scrimmage on Saturday, Pittman said that some things were solidified in his mind.
That may be true, but several questions still remain. Here are 6 of the biggest questions I still have as the Hogs wrap up spring workouts and head into the offseason.
1. How much has KJ Jefferson improved and what is his ceiling?
With a full year of SEC competition under his belt, it would seem the sky is the limit for the Arkansas quarterback. Following the Saturday scrimmage, Pittman talked about the areas in which he feels Jefferson has made strides.
“He is much better at his reads right now more than any time he was last year,” Pittman said. “He sees the game faster. I think he has really improved a lot.”
Jefferson said he’s matured with the experience he got last year and hopes to use that to full advantage next season.
“Not being greedy, taking whatever the defense gives me,” Jefferson said of his maturity process. “Knowing that those 5 yards add up over time.”
A smarter Jefferson makes him that much more dangerous to defenses. Can’t wait to see how that translates on the field next season.
2. Who will be the breakout receiver?
That’s been a major question since Treylon Burks decided to enter the NFL Draft. There doesn’t seem to be an answer just yet as the Hogs finish up spring workouts.
There are definite possibilities, but nobody has stepped up to provide a definitive answer.
“I don’t know if we have found that yet,” Pittman said after the scrimmage Saturday.
Oklahoma transfer Jadon Haselwood could be the guy. He had a few passes thrown his way Saturday. But there were no deep throws that we’d hoped to see. So, the question remains.
Warren Thompson hit his head on the turf and left the scrimmage. Like Haselwood, Thompson didn’t separate himself from the competition. So, it would appear the Razorbacks will move into fall camp still looking for their home-run threat.
3. Is Drew Sanders a better LB than Bumper Pool?
That may be sacrilege to even suggest, but the Alabama transfer was all over the field on Saturday in a scrimmage dominated by defense.
“The man flies to the ball, he sniffs it out and he goes 110 to the ball,” Arkansas tight end Trey Knox said of Sanders’ abilities. “He’s athletic. I haven’t seen anyone move the way he does.”
I don’t know if he’s better than Pool, but they could form one of the best 1-2 punches in the conference.
4. How good can Trey Knox be at TE?
Moving inside and bulking up, Knox could prove to be a valuable weapon this season. He missed time this spring with a concussion suffered in a car accident but appears to be back at 100% now. He was on the receiving end of a couple of throws on Saturday and looked comfortable, even after adding 20 pounds to move from receiver to his new spot at tight end.
5. How serious is the injury to Taurean Carter?
In the first series of plays Saturday, defensive lineman Taurean Carter had to be helped off the field with what appeared to be an injury to his left leg.
“I don’t think it’s a major, major injury,” Pittman said.
Major, major? What exactly that means remains to be seen. But the Hogs will certainly need Carter to be healthy in order to get full use of the rotation.
6. Can Pittman utilize Malik Hornsby to Arkansas’ full advantage?
That’s going to be interesting to see. Whether he’s at wide receiver or inserted at quarterback for certain packages, Hornsby’s abilities should be used to the fullest extent.
“I do believe he needs to be on the field for us to be the best team we can be,” Pittman said.
Hornsby has the speed and athletic ability to excel at either position. Pittman said after the scrimmage that Hornsby and Jefferson have to run with the football in order for Arkansas’ offense to be most effective.
What Pittman draws up for Hornsby this season I await with great anticipation.