Arkansas Razorbacks Football Coordinators Presser

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – In two words, Arkansas offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kendal Briles described  graduate transfer former Florida Gators starting  quarterback Feleipe Franks still fitting where he’s fit upon his Razorbacks arrival.

After Wednesday’s practice in shoulder pads, Briles was asked on a Zoom press conference if starting quarterback is still Franks’  job to lose going into Friday’s second preseason scrimmage.

“Yes, sir,” Briles replied.

Briles said Franks  will quarterback the first offense, and redshirt freshman KJ Jefferson the second offense, with returning lettermen Jack Lindsey and John Stephen Jones quarterbacking the third offense and some second unit snaps Friday.

Franks has the body and arm to presume he could start on talent alone but doesn’t, Briles implied.

“I really appreciate  his work ethic,” Briles said.  He’s a guy that comes up here and studies the tape. He watches it by himself every day. He wants the installs before we ever have our meetings. I feel like he’s really starting to develop himself into having a leadership role. You can talk about all that stuff, but he could be 5-9, 180 and slow and look like me, but he’s not. He’s 6-6, 240 pounds and he’s got a lot of God-given abilities that he’s blessed with, and he does not take them for granted. I’m very glad that we got him.”

Left offensive guard and tight end have been described as up for grabs positions but on the line redshirt freshman Beaux Limmer seems entrenching himself at right guard like returning senior left tackle Myron Cunningham and sophomore Ricky Stromberg, a starting guard last year now the starting center.

“He’s just been consistent,” Briles said.  “You know what you’re getting out of Beaux every day.  He’s around 305. But when you see him move, he really plays fast. Beaux will strike you, and he’ll finish you. If you’re a twitchy guy and you’ve got some lead in your butt and you can move some weight, you’re playing right guard, which is what we want.”

Right offensive tackle features strong competition with veteran Dalton Wagner and Noah Gatlin, the third-year sophomore from Jonesboro so promising playing four games as a 2018 redshirt freshman then sidelined all 2019 by a preseason knee injury requiring major surgery.

“He(Gatlin) looks good,” Briles said. “He’s been on the field a bunch. He’s obviously an extremely big kid (6-7, 307)  he looks really healthy right now on the field. The thing about him he’s going to do everything right to make sure that he does stay healthy all the time.”

Regarding what Head Coach Sam Pittman and Briles seek from the offense in Friday’s scrimmage, Briles said, “You’ve got to protect the football and give yourself a chance to win every single game. So that’s going to be our No. 1 priority on offense. The discipline within each and every play, just doing your job. Trying to limit the missed assignments. That’s also going to be a big deal for us.” 

For defensive coordinator Barry Odom a big deal is the defensive line, with the first team manned by ends Julius Coates, the junior college transfer, and Dorian Gerald, a  senior returned from the 2019 out for the season injured, and senior Jonathan Marshall and graduate transfer Xavier Kelly pushed by third-year sophomore Isaiah Nichols at the tackles, putting heat on Franks and Jefferson though they  will be caution jersey restrained from hitting the quarterbacks Friday.

“Especially in this league, you’d better be able to put pressure up front otherwise it’s going to be a long day,” Odom said.  “I’m leaning on those guys.  Coach (Derrick, the defensive line coach)  LeBlanc has  done a heck of a job getting them in the position they are now and we’ve just to keep pushing for the next couple of weeks.”

The Razorbacks open their 10-games entirely SEC schedule  at 3 p.m. Sept. 26 against the nationally No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs at Reynolds Razorback Stadium on the SEC Network.

Odom praised several defensive backs starting with cornerback Montaric Brown of Ashdown, but the former (2016-2019 Missouri head coach heaped his biggest praise on an offensive player, sophomore receiver Treylon Burks whom Odom game-planned against in last year’s Arkansas vs. Missouri game, a 24-14 Mizzou victory in Odom’s final Mizzou game.

“Going into the game last year, we were ultra on alert for wherever number 16 (Burks) was lined up,” Odom said.  Now being around him and watching him compete, I’ve got even more respect for him. He is as talented as a guy I’ve gone against. He also works so hard, extremely hard every day. You’re going to get his best every single day.”

The Razorbacks are off Thursday after holding the 10th of their 25 preseason practices allowed.’

Back to top button