By Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas lost its starting defensive linemen from last season, but some of the returning players have started at various times.
Sam Pittman saw one of his key defensive tackles go down on the third play of the April 16 scrimmage. Taurean Carter reportedly tore his ACL and will likely miss the entire 2022 season. Pittman had praised Carter numerous times in the spring prior to his injury.
In addition to several experienced defensive linemen returning this season, Pittman and his staff also signed four transfers to help there. On Wednesday, Pittman talked about defensive end Dorian Gerald and other defensive linemen he has this season.
“Dorian Gerald has been there so long, I told him the other day, I think Houston Nutt brought him in,” Pittman said. “I don’t know how long he’s been there (smiling). Dorian, we obviously need pass-rushers. I love the numbers. Actually we’re over, to be honest with you, on numbers there. We’ve got 20, counting walk-ons.”
One area that Pittman wants to see drastic improvement is the pass rushing. He’s hoping Adams can help coach up the line and get more production in that area.
“We need some elite pass-rushers,” Pittman said. “We went and got Landon Jackson. Obviously Zach Williams is returning and Jashaud Stewart is returning. Eric Gregory can do either/or. We signed Jordan Domineck. We think we can get to the quarterback a little bit more. We also feel a little better with our corner situation where we can play a little man coverage. We’ve got to get behind them, chains on first down. We did better last year. We have to continue getting better. Having man-to-man corners is going to help you do that.
“I feel a lot better. Isaiah Nichols on the inside. Obviously losing Taurean Carter for whatever the period of time it is hurt us. He was having a wonderful spring. But other than that I feel good. Terry Hampton coming in. I feel good about Taylor Lewis, some of those guys. We’ll see what happens. But I think we’ll be much better on the D-line than we were a year ago.”
Jackson was a big-time recruit out of Texarkana (Texas) Pleasant Grove in the Class of 2021. He chose LSU because of some uncertainty with the coaching transition at Arkansas. But now Pittman is elated to have the 6-foot-7, 275-pound sophomore.
“Landon Jackson came over with an injury,” Jackson said. “Wonderful person, wonderful kid. He’s just now healthy. He can run. I mean, he can run run. Long. We felt like not necessarily from LSU, but we felt like some
of our issues were rushing the passer as a defensive end and a cover, man-to-man cover corner situation. Not that we don’t have ’em, but we needed more. We felt like we did well with those two guys in the portal.“