The bye week has allowed Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and his staff to do some recruiting in addition to getting in some extra practice time.
Rafe Peavey has his team at 8-0 on the season and Jim Chaney will watch him play on Friday.
The Razorbacks practiced Tuesday, Wednesday and will go again today before recruiting starts again for the staff. Bielema said he and his seven assistants other than the coordinators were out on Monday and early Tuesday.
“We will hit the road today and Friday,” Bielema said. “This has been fun for me being able to lock into a little recruiting.”
Arkansas has 17 commitments, but are experiencing a 3-5 season. However, Bielema said it has been a productive week.
“Everywhere we've been has been a positive experience with the coaches, we can't talk to the players yet,” Bielema said. “The reception we have received from coaches coast to coast has been very good.
“It was good for me to get into something besides x's and o's. It was beneficial for me to get out on the road, get refreshed and hear some positive things.”
Arkansas plays Auburn on Nov. 2. Bielema said in addition to obviously being a big game and Senior Day that will also be a big recruiting weekend as well.
Another big event for Arkansas will be Dec. 13 when they hold a Senior Banquet that will be a football banquet. They will honor the seniors that night.
“It will also be a big recruiting weekend and a way to showcase our program other than football,” Bielema said of the Senior Banquet.”
Bret Bielema will spend a lot of time this week on the road recruiting.
Bielema said the time on the road also allowed the Hogs to go see many on their top targets.
“I think we worked our way through three-fourths of our commitment list,” Bielema said. “We've got a certain number that we're set in.
“That number may grow. The only way you can lose your scholarship (current players) is stupid decisions either character or academic. That said, the last couple of weeks I have got a chance to see what we have and what we need. I originally just planned to sign two or three junior college recruits. That number may grow by one or two. Unless we find the right high school kid, I think we need a junior college linebacker and maybe a DB that we weren't planning on signing. Also, the possibility of a transfer or junior college player or two on offense.”
Bielema said some of the recruits committed to the Razorbacks might play immediately.
“Some of the kids committed you see as an immediate help while some of the others might be two year's away,” Bielema said.
Bielema also showed a new recruiting banner that was sent out the past week or two to recruits.
“Our recruiting department put this together,” Bielema said. “'Greatness is happening, you can be the next freshman to have a role in the season.' It lists 18 guys who are either true freshmen or redshirt freshmen that are having an immediate impact on our program. I was notified the other day that we have five, six or seven guys depending on how the rest of the season goes that could either be freshmen All-Americans or freshmen All-SEC players.”
Bielema was asked if he was selling the idea of immediate playing time to recruits?
Oklahoma and Texas A&M tried to flip Henre' Toliver but he's solid to Hogs.
“Absolutely,” Bielema said. “During this week I wanted to have the recruiting phone call to everyone of our commitments for one reason. I wanted to tell them where we are and what our goals are. I have worked my way through about two-thirds of them and has been absolutely awesome.”
Bielema knows that with Arkansas struggling on the field other schools will make an effort to steal the UA commits.
“It's like sharks in the water and they smell blood,” Bielema said. “We're going to have our opponents coming after the kids who are committed to us. That's when you really rely on hopefully you've recruited the right kind of kid. A kid who wants to be a Razorback for all the right reasons. A kid that will be here next Saturday and sees a crowd that will support the Hogs no matter what. That's part you really sell.”
Bielema was asked if it would be easier to recruit prospects if the Hogs ran the Spread instead of the Pro-Style offense?
“This (Pro-Style) is the offense the NFL is running,” Bielema said. “There's a little bit if wave right now. One of the things that can help us in recruiting is the more failure Philadelphia has on the football field.
“You are in the NFL and playing defense on a team that is going to put you out there over and over and that shortens your career. The bottom line is every kid who plays football in college wants to play in the NFL. He wants to play in a system that's going to benefit his ability to play at the next level. Over the course of time, the Pro-Style offense is going to win out for that exact reason.”
Bielema said there is certain positions such as a true Mike linebacker he's looking for in recruiting. However, regardless of position, Bielema said three factors is what he's looking for in a recruit.
“I want kids that love football,” Bielema said. “A lot of people play football, but the kids who love football usually can do extraordinary things.
“I want them, if at all possible, to have something to show me they love to win. A championship, winning record, captain or something that shows me they don't only love playing the game, but they want to win. The third is they have to believe in the core values we believe in here. Which is academic, athletic and social success. They are all three equal. If they have an in-balance in that we're usually not going to be able to get them where they need to be.
“If you are a player who comes into our program and does what we do and practices like we do you're going to play better football in year's two, three, four and five than in year one. That's the way it works. It doesn't do me any good to lose a kid in year three because he is ineligible or anything like. Now, if I loose a player after three years because he's a first-round draft pick. He was probably a great player for me.”