We’ll never get a direct answer from any of the coaches for a few years, but it became pretty clear before the end of September last season the receivers were a problem for Arkansas.
It became clear when one transferred before the end of September, the most experienced one had a grand total of eight catches all year, the best tight end missed two games for reasons other than injury and the leading receiver transferred out at the end.
You wonder how much of the offense’s passing woes came from the receivers not being on the same page as the quarterbacks … for whatever reason.
Just because a pass sails into what resembles a vacant lot doesn’t mean it’s on the guy who threw it.
Everybody has to be reading the same thing in coverages or it looks like a train wreck.
Which pretty much sums up last season.
Now there are changes at the receiver position following a recruiting binge that landed what could be the best group of incoming freshmen in program history at catching the ball,
Potentially it could be as good — or even better — than the 2008 group of Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Chris Gragg. This group is rated higher coming out of high school.
Trey Knox, Treylon Burks, Hudson Henry, Shamar Nash and T.Q. Jackson are all big, fast and have basically been playing in a similar offense since they were in junior high. Granted, that’s not the SEC, but they already have the basics.
During the summer they have been getting a crash course on what’s expected on and off the field.
The returning receivers I’ve come across during the summer have all noted the complete change in attitude and accountability. It’s been a complete change.
More importantly, there seems to be more pride. The body language is even different in the receivers coming back. They’ve had the talent, but now appear to to have the attitude in place.
Honestly, the returning receivers know they better get their act together or they will be standing on the sidelines when Saturdays roll around this fall.
In fact, it won’t be surprising to see passing early, then running the ball. If you can consistently hit a pass on first down for 4 yards, second down gets a lot more interesting.
A big part of Chad Morris’ offense is, quite simply, staying ahead of the chains. That means eliminating second-and-long and third-and-long.
There will be a lot of reading on first downs this year, which simply means nobody’s going to know the ball is going (or should be going) until after it’s snapped.
For all that to happen with any consistency, the receiver position had to improve.
The odds are good that it has.