FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Carter coaches Arkansas’ cornerbacks and helps Barry Odom with the secondary and likes the numbers now available.
In the past Arkansas has been extremely thin at times in the secondary, but that doesn’t appear to be the case heading into the 2021 season. Carter talked about the numbers he and Odom like to have ready to go at defensive back.
“Coach Odom is the DC, but we try to have two safeties, two guys that can rotate, four corners and two nickels,” Carter said. “Right now, any of our guys could get out there and play. We’re excited about our group.”
One of the more versatile members of the secondary is sophomore Myles Slusher. In 2020 as a true freshman from Broken Arrow (Okla.), Slusher played in six games and started two of them. Slusher had 15 tackles, including nine solo, a tackle for loss and one forced fumble.
“Right now, Slush can play corner, safety, nickel for us,” Carter said. “He’s just competing. We have a lot of guys in different positions just like we did last year with cross training. He missed a day because he had to go home for a funeral, but he’s been on a roll since he’s been back.”
As with any position, coaches love speed and that is where redshirt junior LaDarrius Bishop really stands out. Bishop played in all 10 games last fall and started the final one against Alabama. Bishop had 39 tackles, including 23 solo, two for loss, recovered a fumble and broke up three passes.
“I think sometimes when you have speed, you forget your technique,” Carter said. “DayDay is probably one of the fastest guys in the secondary, probably on the team. So, if you’re good at something, you’ve got to be weak at something. Always strive to, hey, I’m good at this, we can work on the weakness. Remember, you’re fast, so trust your technique and everything else will work out.”
Junior Greg Brooks plays the nickel for Arkansas. The junior played in nine games last fall with eight starts. He finished with 64 tackles, including 35 solo, three for loss, a trio of interceptions, three quarterback hurries and seven pass breakups.
“Greg Brooks, by far, is probably one of our leaders in the room,” Brooks said. “He’s unbelievable. Right now, first three days, him and Burks are going at it back and forth. As long as he has the confidence, Greg is probably one of the best DBs in the country.”
Carter noted that Greg Brooks Sr. played in the NFL and the younger Brooks is always trying to learn more to make himself a better player.
“Quick twitch,” Carter said. “He’s a football player. A lot of people don’t know Greg Brooks’ dad played in the NFL. So, he’s from a football family. He just studies football all day. He loves it. Sometimes he texts me at 3 AM, 2 AM like ‘Coach, you up?’ And I’m like ‘Man, I’m trying to go to sleep.’ And he’s just asking me questions about different formations.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields today for the fourth preseason practice. The Hogs will take Wednesday off and then it will be full pads starting Thursday.