True freshman Will Hines has been elevated to first team cornerback this week and sources indicate he will start on Saturday.
It was reported earlier today on Hawgs247 that Hines would start for senior Darius Winston on Saturday against Rutgers. Haynes stopped short of naming Hines the starter, but did confirm he is working with the first unit.
“We like his speed and how physical he is,” Haynes said of Hines.
The team was met by a large group of students today after practice that was cheering for the team as they finished practice and walked to the Broyles Complex. Haynes was impressed by the students' support.
“It's exciting,” Haynes said. “We've just got to put a better product on the field for them. That's our job to make sure, but they are strong. Just like looking forward to this game. We will have a great crowd out there supporting this football team, and I expect nothing less just because Hog Nation is strong and they back their players."
Haynes said the team knows it has to be ready for undefeated Rutgers on Saturday night.
“We're excited about this week,” Haynes said. “Our guys are super excited about Rutgers coming in here. We know we have to get better and we will.”
Haynes also addressed the mindset of the team and his defense following the 1-2 start. Arkansas lost 52-0 to Alabama last week and was upset by Louisiana-Monroe the previous Saturday in overtime 34-31.
“It's good,” Haynes said. “We licked our wounds and kind of moved forward. It's time to move forward. We know we're not playing the type of football that we want to play and should play, but we're actually getting a little bit closer. We did do some good things early in that football game. We've got to continue to do them. We've got to improve on them, we've got to get better at them, but the mindset and attitude of our team is very good.”
Safety play hasn't been what Haynes had hoped thus far this season and talked about that following Wednesday's practice.
“The thing we concentrate on all the time is play-action pass,” Haynes said. “How you defend play-action pass is great eye control. We talk about it, we haven't done a great job at it and that's the one thing we're focusing on every day....talking about eye control.
“When we have mental mistakes and we're giving up plays because of mental mistakes, it can't happen. It's not unrealistic to have zero. That comes with communication, with eye control and things like that. It has nothing to do with missed tackles. It has nothing to do with you run with a guy and he makes a catch. If it's something we can control, we can't have it.”
Haynes also addressed the reason teams have been able to turn short passes into long plays against the Razorbacks.
“That won't happen unless you lose leverage and miss tackles,” Haynes said. “That is kind of what is happening. We either lost leverage, guys are on good pursuit courses and guys lose leverage, or you just flat out miss a tackle. That's just things we're sitting here concentrating on and making sure we're keeping leverage and get it back to those guys running inside out. We lose leverage and you just can't.”
Freshmen linebackers Otha Peters and A.J. Turner are getting some more work this week in hopes of getting them into the game against Rutgers, according to Haynes.
“We're working them in a little bit more this week,” Haynes said. “It depends on how the game is going and it depends on how the starters are doing. They may see some action.”