FAYETTEVILLE — Junior Greg Broooks likes what he has seen of Arkansas’ secondary depth through seven spring practices.
Brooks talked about the depth at the nickel spot where he plays.
“It’s really been Nick Turner,” Brooks said. “Trent Gordon like you said and Jermaine Hamilton(-Jordan). Those have been the three guys working each and every day.”
Another player at the nickel some is Jacorrei Turner. Freshman Jayden Jackson is making an impact at safety.
“Jacorrei is playing nickel, too, but Jayden is playing more field safety and boundary safety,” Brooks said.
When Brooks arrived at Arkansas as a freshman Arkansas’ secondary was thin which isn’t the case any longer.
“I feel like we need depth because we play six [defensive backs] if anything happens, they can step up each and every time,” Brooks said. “I feel like having more depth is better for us. From my freshman year, there was no depth at all and now we have depth at each and every position. It is just getting everybody on board with their assignments and I feel like we are getting better with that.”
Arkansas also has Montaric Brown and LaDarrius Bishop back at cornerback in addition to others.
“Hudson Clark, great spring,” Brooks said. “Khari (Johnson), Devin (Bush), he’s coming off a shoulder injury, but he’s going to be out there, too, this year. Our group is really well. Collectively as a group, we’ve been working and we’re just only going to get better.”
Malik Chavis had an interception in Saturday’s scrimmage and is doing well at safety even picking off another pass on Tuesday.
“It’s been great,” Brooks said. “Malik, he looks like a big ole goalpost standing back there with how tall he is. I think it’s been good for him. He’s getting better each and every day, and as you can tell his ball skills.”
Brooks has been impressed with walk-on defensive back Nathan Parodi as well. Parodi has seen action on special teams including punt returner and some kickoff returner as well.
“Today, Nathan Parodi,” Brooks said. “Nathan Parodi has the best spring. Best DB, having the best spring. Malik got a pick today. Don’t know if y’all saw that. He got another one today.”
Brooks talked about how the entire defense did well on Tuesday prior to taking time off for spring break.
“The whole defense had a good day,” Brooks said. “We were 7-of-8 on third down. The whole defense had a great day.”
As a sophomore in 2020, Brooks played in all 10 games finishing with 39 tackles, including 22 solo, three for loss, two interceptions and three pass breakups. He talked about his points of emphasis this spring.
“Me, just taking more knowledge of the game, knowing which play is coming it’s even snapped,” Brooks said. “That’s what I really worked on this spring. I feel like I got a lot better at that. And for the DBs, it’s really just trusting each other and knowing everybody’s position. If we know everybody’s position, we’re going to be hard to stop.”
While Barry Odom is back as coordinator and Sam Carter is coaching cornerbacks again the defense has two new assistants and some changes from last season.
“It’s just a lot of stuff from last year that we didn’t run as much,” Brooks said. “Coach trusts us more man-to-man this year, so he feels like we just need to come with it with the blitz this year. I feel like it’s going to help us add another element to our game come the fall.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields on Thursday.