Kendal Briles sets clear camp goal for Arkansas to accomplish, names RBs standing out behind Rakeem Boyd
To play at the pace that Kendal Briles desires, the Razorbacks are going to have to get in shape.
That’s something Sam Pittman recently said when speaking to reporters and while he’s happy with where his unit is for the time being, the team’s first-year offensive coordinator agrees that overall assessment when discussing what he’s seen thus far during Arkansas training camp.
“I don’t have any concerns with where we’re at right now, we do need to continue to work in practice to get in game shape and your right, when you play a tempo, at times, it can be difficult on really all 11 guys on the field — especially if you’re able to move the ball and stay on the field,” Briles said during his recent media availability. “If you’re doing that, that means you’re making first downs, which is always good. But I think as a entire football team, I would think that that’s what Coach Pittman was speaking of. And I agree with him. I don’t think we’re in game shape right now.
“We looked a little better today but it was pretty nice. You know, our last scrimmage, it was hot and humid and we had a lot of special teams involved with that scrimmage as well so there’s a lot of running up downfield. You saw guys dragging their tongues a little bit. I think the want-to is there we just got to keep striving to get them in shape.”
While having players in ideal shape has been a clear goal of the coaching staff, the biggest hurdle for the team entering the season is to finally solidify the quarterback position after several seasons of subpar performances under center.
Based on what Briles had to say leading up to the second scrimmage of camp, it’s clear the starting job in Fayetteville belongs to Feleipe Franks.
Here’s what the offensive coordinator said when asked how the team planned to split reps in the scrimmage.
“Those reps will be pretty much the way that they have been, the ones will be with Franks and the twos with Jefferson,” Briles said. “Then we’re gonna let those other guys roll through and maybe slide them up to some of the two reps, as well.”
Without a doubt, Rakeem Boyd is the star of the team’s running back room but several players have been given the opportunity to step up in camp and assume the role as the No. 2 option behind the senior.
Players like Josh Oglesby, Dominique Johnson and A’Montae Spivey were all mentioned by Briles but Trelon Smith was the first player that the OC mentioned.
“Trelon Smith is doing a tremendous job. Absolutely love that kid, I love his heart and his work ethic,” Briles said. “Ever since we got here, I got here in January, all I’ve seen him do his work all the time. He’s just a worker and it’s going to pay off for him. He’s a really smart kid, he understands the tempo, he understands the offense. An extremely tough kid.
“He’s been getting the reps behind Rakeem and then, Oglesby had a little hiccup and he was at running back as well. Then Spivey, Spivey’s looked good and then our young guy, Dominique he’s had a nice camp, as well. So we feel like Coach Smith has got a really good room there, obviously, Rakeem’s going to be the lead dog.”
That we knew, but it’s nice to know who is stepping up to relieve Boyd when he needs a breather.
Photo credit: Arkansas Athletics