FAYETTEVILLE — One thing Sam Pittman was looking for when he knew he would have a new defensive coordinator is install a four-man front on the line.
Deke Adams is set to begin his second season with the Razorbacks and is the only defensive assistant returning in 2023. Adams ran a lot of three-man front under Barry Odom, but new defensive coordinator Travis Williams prefers an aggressive four-man front.
The Razorbacks also have some good news with the return of Taurean Carter who missed all of 2022 following a knee injury suffered in the spring game. On Tuesday, Pittman provided an updated on Carter.
“I think we’ve been told to watch him,” Pittman said. “Watch if there’s any swelling on his knee and things of that nature. But to be perfectly honest with you, he got cleared. We’ll be smart with him and those things, but at the end of last spring I thought he was as good a defensive interior lineman as we had. And it’s almost like getting him out of the portal, because he didn’t play last year.
“But Taurean is very, very strong, worked extremely hard and got cleared, and we expect him to have a really good spring. We will watch him to the fact that we might limit him a little bit in reps early. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Pittman was asked if he feels better about the depth on the interior defensive line?
“Man, you do,” Pittman said. “Again, like we talked about with TC, it’s like going out and getting a guy out of the portal since he wasn’t here and knowing that he can play and knowing that he understands who we are and things of that nature. That certainly helps. Eric (Gregory) has gotten big enough now where we might could throw him back inside as well. I think Eric will be a multiple end and inside guy like he was last year. Certainly, that would be a position that we might need to continue to add to through the portal. Again, nothing negative towards the guys we have. That one there is a little light in depth but certainly not talent but in depth.”
Arkansas added John Morgan III from Pitt and Trajan Jeffcoat from Missouri on the defensive line. Pittman talked about the transfers and one particular position on the defensive line.
” Yeah, I like our transfers and again, I like their work ethic,” Pittman said. “That’s the biggest thing you’re concerned about in the portal is, A, why? And B, are they willing to work? So certainly, we’ve seen that they will do that.
“The biggest thing I want to find out, to be honest with you, is who is going to be that jack, that buck linebacker, that boundary standup in our system. He’s also got to be a guy that can play down. What I wanted when T-Will came in is I wanted four D-linemen. Even if we were in an odd package, I wanted four D-linemen on the field. And that should be your dominant pass rusher and all that. I think that’s the biggest thing we need to find out, to be perfectly honest with you this spring, is who is that position? Who is that weakside defensive end position? We’ve been looking at several of them. I think Nico Davillier is doing a good job there. Landon Jackson has done a really good job there. And of course, we recruited John Morgan kind of in that role. So, we’ll see what happens, but I think we have that person or people on our team that can play that spot. I think that’s probably the biggest question mark going into spring ball is who that guy’s going to be because we’re pretty comfortable with the rest of the guys.”
Arkansas will begin spring drills on Thursday afternoon.