HOGS set starting lineup for Bearcats
Fayetteville — It's been eight months, but there is an Arkansas football game on the immediate horizon — 2:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 23 Cincinnati at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman went to the podium Monday afternoon to provide information on how his 19th-ranked team is preparing for its matchup with the Bearcats, the Razorbacks' first game since last season's victory over Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
Questions at Defensive Back
The Week 1 depth chart lists Ladarius Bishop (15 tackles, 3 pass deflections last season) and Hudson Clark (22 tackles, 1 pass deflection last season) as the No. 1 cornerbacks, but Pittman said he believes things are unset at that position.
“We’re still trying to figure out exactly what we’re going to do,” Pittman said. “We obviously know that they are all going to play.”
Expect to see Malik Chavis (6-2, 192; ) and LSU transfer Dwight McGlothern (6-2, 181; ) to see extensive playing time, with the potential to take over as one of the starters.
Two of the most celebrated arrivals from the transfer portal — wide receiver Jadon Haselwood (Oklahoma transfer) and linebacker Drew Sanders (Alabama) — are listed at No. 1 at their respective positions.
Haselwood will start alongside former Florida State transfer Warren Thompson and former Toledo WR Matt Landers (6-5, 180).
Sanders will start at inside linebacker alongside super senior Bumper Pool (Craven Whitlow photo).
Pittman said Sanders, who played outside at Alabama, has worked inside since he arrived in Fayetteville in time for spring drills.
“He just hasn’t played inside the box much,” Pittman said of Sanders, who accounted for 24 tackles in two seasons at Alabama. “In college, he’s been mostly an edge guy. Obviously, he has taken a lot of reps inside. We feel like he’s ready and I’m sure he is ready. I look forward to him having a really good game.”
Don’t Take Your Opponent Lightly
Cincinnati comes to town Saturday ranked No. 23 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll after becoming the first team from outside the Power 5 conferences to make the College Football Playoff.
The Bearcats saw nine of last season's players taken in the NFL Draft, and Pittman said there will be an element of surprise for the Razorbacks with so many new players on both sides.
Most notably the Bearcats have a new offensive coordinator (Gino Guidugli replacing Mike Denbrock) and a new quarterback — either Evan Prater or Ben — replacing NFL third-round pick Desmond Ritter.
“I think the first couple of series are going to be important to figure out kind of what they’re bringing to the party,” Pittman said. “You know some guys iced tea and some guys bring liquor. You just got to figure out what they’re bringing.”
The Bearcats have a wealth of experience across the offensive line, giving them a solid foundation.
“I know people say they lost a lot of players,” Pittman said. “Well, they played a whole bunch of them last year because they were so far ahead in a lot of their games that they got experience with their other guys. And then they brought in some nice transfers as well.”