Opening camp: Arkansas

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
3:00
PM ET
Schedule: The Hogs will open preseason practice on Monday. Their first day in full pads is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 9.

On the mend: Sophomore linebackers A.J. Turner (wrist) and Otha Peters (hip) didn’t do much in the spring while recovering from injuries. Senior safety Eric Bennett battled through an assortment of injuries last season, but is healthy heading into camp.

Key battle: Sorting things out at linebacker is at the top of the Hogs’ to-do list this preseason. A pair of junior college newcomers will factor in prominently -- Myke Tavarres and Martrell Spaight. Tavarres enrolled in January and went through spring practice. True freshman Brooks Ellis could also get an early look. The spring ended with fourth-year junior Daunte Carr, a former safety, listed No. 1 at middle linebacker along with fourth-year junior Braylon Mitchell at strongside linebacker and senior Jarrett Lake at weakside linebacker. Turner and Peters both had their moments as true freshmen and will almost certainly climb back into the rotation as long as they’re healthy. Former Miami head coach Randy Shannon is the Hogs’ linebackers coach, and he will mix and match to get the right combinations on the field.

Of note: Bret Bielema won 12 games in his first season as head coach at Wisconsin (2006), but it wasn’t until his fifth season that the Badgers won a Big Ten championship, the first of three straight Big Ten titles on Bielema’s watch.

Predicted order of finish: Picked seventh in the West at SEC media days.

They said it: “It’s a spread world right now, so seeing a coach who’s going to come in and run the football and play a physical brand of football is something we were all excited about.” -- Arkansas fullback Kiero Small

Chris Low | email

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