- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOOVER, Ala. -- In an effort to make communication inside Arkansas' football team easier, the Razorbacks have adopted a new language: Hoganese.
Foreign to everyone outside of the confines of the Razorbacks' football facility, Hoganese was created this spring by Bret Bielema and his coaching staff so players could use coded terminology on the field. It's used on offense and defense to inform Arkansas' players of what to do, what not to do and what should be coming.
Here's Bielema's definition:
“Hoganese is a language and a verbage and a way of communicating that’s unique to the Hogs."
Basically, it's a way for players to quickly talk to each other on the field in a "language" only understood by Razorbacks players. It's a way to disguise things for a team looking for every advantage it can find in 2014, as it attempts to grow and develop in the second year of the Bielema era.
"We felt we had to get better at certain things physically, but we really needed to have a more effective job communicating what we wanted to get across from coaches to players and then from players to players in a short amount of time," Bielema said. "Whether it be at the line of scrimmage and understand that, hey, we’re going to slip block this three technique. How are you going to say it? You can’t say, ‘Hey, let’s slip block this 3 technique,’ because they’re going to know what’s up.”
What was "sketchy" and "corny" to some players when it was first introduced during the spring morphed into a crystal clear dialect that has pulled a team that limped through an ugly 3-9 2013 season closer in the past few months. Searching for something to create some positive unity, the Hogs embraced their new way of speaking.
“It was a huge growing process for us," senior offensive lineman Brey Cook said. "It was going over the little things that you don’t always think about as a player in the summer. It’s been really huge for us this summer as far as growing as a team.
“You forget about those little things that you have to master, and that’s what Hoganese is for.”
While Hoganese has become an essential part to the Hogs' progression in 2014, Bielema knows it's going to take more than communication to improve upon last season. This team has to win the mental side, but it also has to get tougher physically, something Bielema's team struggled with at times in 2014.
“It’s not just words; it’s gotta be part of their DNA," he said. "They have to understand that we’re going to play physical football offensively and defensively. They have to understand that fourth-and-1 isn’t a question, it’s a task. A year ago, guys talked about, ‘We’re physical, we’re physical,’ but I don’t know if we lined up and did it.
“They can’t just preach it; they have to walk it.”