Arkansas Razorbacks 2020 Fall Camp Notebook: Linebackers play better, new left guard Brady Latham, assessing Franks
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HawgBeat Camp Notebook: LBs play better, new LG, assessing Franks, more

Feleipe Franks throws a pass in Friday's scrimmage.
Feleipe Franks throws a pass in Friday's scrimmage. (Arkansas Athletics)

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FAYETTEVILLE — One reason behind the defense’s drastic turnaround between Arkansas’ first and second scrimmages of camp was the play of its linebackers.

Following a week of practices in which head coach Sam Pittman challenged them to be more physical and shed blocks to go make plays, it sounds like that’s just what the unit did Friday.

“When we go, it's usually because the D-line becomes disruptive, but I did see those guys making some plays in there,” Pittman said. “I think they made more plays because I think last week they know they didn't play well, and I think they made some plays today.”

In a Zoom videoconference with the media afterward, the first-year coach said Deon Edwards, Andrew Parker, Levi Draper and J.T. Towers were the linebackers he saw make plays during the scrimmage.

It was the first time in a while that Draper, the former four-star recruit and graduate transfer from Oklahoma, has been mentioned in camp.

Many expect him to push for a starting job, but Pittman had to talk to him about not thinking so much and just go make tackles. That message was well received and he did more of that Friday.

“To be honest with you, I think he’s doing a lot of processing,” Pittman said. “If you’re processing, you’re not reacting. And in this league, if you’re processing, you’re getting beat. So I just think he’s probably learned the defense a little bit better.”

Battle at TE

The other position that Pittman singled out following last week’s scrimmage was tight end. He and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles have both said they’re still waiting on a player or two to emerge as the top guys in that group.

Even after Friday, though, it sounds like it’s still a pretty good battle - which Pittman wanted to emphasize didn’t mean they didn’t like any of their options.

“A lot of times you talk about a battle and I don't want to get that misinterpreted we don't have any good players,” Pittman said. “You have a battle and a lot of times that means you have 2-3 good players.”

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