Recent injuries, a transfer and the lingering thoughts of last season present obvious questions about the Razorback secondary coming into the 2016 season.
Last season the Razorback defense ranked dead last in the SEC vs. the pass giving up over 275 yds per game on average. The good news is that this is a new season and these players will have that experience to learn from.
Senior cornerback DJ Dean was injured and missed most of the spring. Dean is now injured again and has miss a lot of fall camp and will not be 100% by game one. Another senior cornerback Jared Collins now has a broken hand will have to play with a cast for several weeks (something he did last season as well). Sophomore cornerback Britto Tutt recently tore his ACL and will be lost for the entire season. Also, junior cornerback Cornelius Floyd has decided to transfer away from the program. Floyd was little used last season but his departure still does not help with depth.
As a silver lining to the cornerback issues I do love in the impact that new defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads is having on the position group. He comes to Arkansas after being a head coach at Iowa State and the players are really gravitating to coach Rhoads.
Collins will remain as a starter on one side even with a cast on his broken hand. Another senior Henre’ Toliver is projected to start on the other side with Dean recovering and Kevin Richardson being able to play corner as well.
Whoever is on the field, I believe the attitude has been adjusted and this is a group that will play with a chip on their shoulder. Will that be enough to slow down opposing SEC offenses? Only time will tell.