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Andy Hodges

Hogs bigger, but appear to be adding backfield speed as well

Josh Oglesby, AJ Green can provide some speedy depth at running back when they learn to play at full speed.

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For several years, coaches have wanted Arkansas to be bigger and faster. That last part hasn’t caught much attention.

One former coach wanted big guys. Another was looking for speed.

For whatever reason, nobody could get everything on the same page at the same time and the results showed a dramatic decline with no SEC wins before getting three last year.

The line has gotten bigger with reports of an average of over 30 pounds of muscle weight increase per player.

Josh Oglesby and AJ Green alone make the backfield faster.

Originally coming to Arkansas as a track athlete, Oglesby started with football last year, was injured and never really got things squared away.

“He’s showing flashes of a real running back now,” wide receiver Tyson Morris said Thursday afternoon about Oglesby. “:ast year he was just kind of getting his feet wet being in the backfield and being out here with bigger guys.

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“Guys are way bigger out there on that field than they are on the track, so I feel like he’s showing real good flashes. He’s hitting the hole way faster. More confident now.”

Pittman has noticed Oglesby’s improvement, too.

“He’s a willing blocker in pass protection,” Pittman said. “He’s 10.3, and the thing with him is we wanted to see 10.3 on the football field. I think we’re starting to see that a little bit more as he’s getting more comfortable.”

Oglesby’s speed has gotten everybody’s attention.

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“He’s fast. Fast as hell, really,” defensive back Greg Brooks said Thursday about Oglesby. “He gets on that corner, ain’t nobody going to catch him. He’s definitely come a long way since last year. You can see the progression towards being a real running back in the SEC.”

Then there’s Green, who’s almost as fast (10.38 to Oglesby’s 10.3 for 100 meters), but was a late enrollee and is dealing with the learning curve early in his time.

“He’s started to become a more willing blocker in pass protection,” Pittman said. “I don’t know how much he did of that in high school. If I was a high school coach, I’d turn around and hand it to him and I’m sure that’s what they did.”

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To see that speed, though, he’s got to get some more reps in practices.

“You know how it is when you first come in,” Pittman said. “He also ran 10.3 something, 10.4. But you’re playing about 10.8 or 10.9 because you’re thinking all the time and that’s what it was.

“In that comparison he’s probably running about a 10.7 right now. He’s getting towards that 100-meter mark he set, but not quite there yet.”

Once he picks it up some quality depth could emerge behind Trelon Smith at running back. It’s maybe the biggest question mark for coaches on the offense.

And the depth may have speed and it could be blazing speed.

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