FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Some of Arkansas’ coaches have mentioned at times this is a young team.
In this day and age of social media some have taken offense with that statement using Arkansas’ depth chart as their proof. I think Arkansas is a young team, but maybe more than anything they are an inexperienced team at many positions.
For instance, one statement after the first depth chart was Arkansas had three senior defensive ends so how are they young? Forget Arkansas lost one of the seniors for the season in the first week and could very well be without one of the others this week and maybe beyond.
The three senior defensive ends on the depth chart had four combined career starts prior to this season. Dorian Gerald had two, Gabe Richardson a pair and Jamario Bell none. So yes they aren’t young it is very valid to say they were inexperienced. They are backed up by true freshmen.
The offensive line was another area where some pointed out how could Arkansas be young when they were starting two seniors, two juniors and a third-year sophomore?
As far as the seniors, Colton Jackson at left tackle had 21 career starts entering the season so fair to say he’s experienced. The other senior, left guard, Austin Capps, spent his first two years on the defensive line and the Portland State game was his first career start at Arkansas.
Junior Ty Clary at center had 15 career starts entering the season. Myron Cunningham, the other junior, was playing his first game at Arkansas and at a different position than he played in junior college. He was a left tackle at Iowa Western Community College and played right guard for the Hogs. A junior, but hardly experienced at this level. Dalton Wagner is a third-year sophomore, but Saturday was just his second career start and first at right tackle.
So once again while Arkansas may not be young to some on the offensive line, just to say two seniors, a pair of juniors and a third-year sophomore is a little misleading when you examine it a bit closer.
Ben Hicks is a senior at quarterback, but had never played in a game with Arkansas until Saturday and same with junior Nick Starkel. Hicks came from SMU while Starkel moved over from Texas A&M.
Arkansas started two true freshman at wide receiver and a sophomore at the other spot. So it is more than fair to say they are young there.
The secondary includes junior safety Kamren Curl who has 23 starts under his belt. He’s by far the most experienced member of the secondary as he is joined by three sophomores and a true freshman. The other safety, Joe Foucha, is a sophomore who started his second game for the Hogs on Saturday. Greg Brooks Jr. at the nickel back is a true freshman.
At cornerback, Jarques McClellion and Montaric Brown are both third-year sophomores. Entering the season, Brown had three career starts while McClellion had nine.
The truth about this Arkansas team, and this isn’t an excuse only what this reporter sees, is that in some cases when the coaches describe it as young maybe they mean inexperienced. The most experienced players include defensive tackle Sosa Agim, linebacker Scoota Harris, defensive tackle T.J. Smith, running back Rakeem Boyd and Curl at safety. Any coincidence they were among the better players on the field Saturday? I don’t think so.