Arkansas football removed a page from Eric MousselmanThursday by breaking down props in practice to put extra emphasis on a teaching point. In this case, the defensive backs put on the boxing gloves before the one-on-one in the red zone against the receivers.
Musselman regularly uses everything from bricks to gardening gloves to hammer particular areas onto the hardwood with the idea that doing something unique will help keep the point in mind with his players.
In fairness to the defensive coordinator Barry Odome, it’s not a first as he’s used things like gloves and blinders before with his high school, but it was the first time something like this made an appearance at fall camp this year. It’s a move that adds further intrigue and hope that the Razorbacks will be better equipped to play more man-to-man coverage in 2022.
“It’s just an emphasis that we felt we had to do,” Odom said. “We have officials at every practice, and you go back and review the practice movie. If you get tired, your habits start to slip a bit. And usually a defensive back when you’re in men’s cover, qu’ “Is that your first reaction? You want to pull yourself together, don’t you? That was a point we wanted to make today.
When the gloves came out on the training ground back then, it usually meant there was a score to settle. As Odom joked with the media after practice, no punches were likely to fly, but taking away the ability of defensive backs to hold, it forced them to focus more carefully on all the other fundamentals of the game. cover.
“I didn’t think there would be a fight. We weren’t ready for that,” Odom joked. “I think it’s something that’s wise to do at some point because it brings your attention and focus back to really your eyes, your feet, your stance, your start and what it’s supposed to look like. It’s something that we’ve done for a long time and seen done and I thought it was important for us to get back on that. I can’t argue with the calls on the side. It doesn’t do me any good. So we’ll just try to fix it ourselves.”
The drill was a valuable experience for the defensive backs, and the next step will be to go back and rewatch the movie, which should provide plenty of teachable moments when it comes to position, game of legs, eyes and more.
“It was good for us. I thought it put us on a bit … made it harder for us,” Odom said. “But also, we can teach from this tape. We’re going to start with stance. We’re going to start with alignment. We’re going to start with eye placement and then you go into the angles that you’re coming out of breaks and where are your eyes.
“Is your chin down? And all the things that come in man-to-man coverage. Take your hands off and we’ll teach everything else with that. It’ll be a beneficial thing for us to teach from this afternoon and until this evening.”
Veteran Safety Simeon Blairwho is in the middle of her fifth fall camp, sees the benefits of exercise and also sees it as a nice change of pace.
“It was a lot of fun today, you know. But it really helps you get your feet moving at DB,” Blair said. “And that’s something you have to think about. You can’t play with that many hands. You have to more, like, move your feet first and then bring your hands. So I feel like that makes things harder for us for sure. But it was fun to do it today.”
Arkansas ranked sixth of 14 SEC teams in pass defense last season, allowing 213.8 yards per game through the air. The Razorbacks were tied for fourth in the league with 13 interceptions as a team.
Odom credits first-year cornerbacks coach Dominique Bowman with his attention to teaching the fundamentals to his group of positions and has seen an improvement in the cover abilities of the men in the unit, including junior redshirt Hudson Clark.
“I think that’s right, but I think they all did it,” Odom said when asked about Clark’s progress in men’s coverage. “Coach Bowman has done a tremendous job moving them all forward in this area in the fundamentals, the techniques.
“What it takes to play the position is tough. Everyone knows you’re man-to-man coverage. If the other guy catches it, ‘well, that guy can’t cover.’ Well, maybe not. He’s in pretty good shape, there’s decent quarterbacks around and receivers, so we keep fighting. We have to be able to play coverage that way. I’m excited about the progress he has made, but also the group.”