Hogs linemen say moving to new defense freeing
FAYETTEVILLE — Senior nose tackle Bijhon Jackson and sophomore defensive end McTelvin “Sosa” Agim both praise the Arkansas Razorbacks’ new 3-4 defense, predicting they have more freedom to make more big plays than in last year’s 4-3 alignment.
However, some of the plays they don’t make also could prove pivotal to the Razorback’s football success. The more offensive linemen it takes to restrict the freedom Jackson and Agim assert this scheme allows them, the more free the four linebackers behind them are to make a play.
“Yeah, that took a little getting used to,” Jackson said of more double teams. “But I just have got to stay stout in the middle. A lot of double teams, but hey, that’s just a job. A lot of guys in the 3-4 get double-teamed across the board. It helps the linebacker because he’s coming free. It helps those guys in the back making plays.”
All the double-teaming seems apt to cut down the defensive stats that might catch NFL scouts’ attention.
However, Agim asserts those in the know look beyond stats.
“If you don’t make the play but tie up blockers, that’s how NFL scouts look at it,” said Agim, who has been massively predicted eventually bound for the NFL since his five-star days at Hope. “Even if you don’t make a play, did you hold your own? Did you do your assignment? You’ve got to make sure you are staying on that.”
Defensive line coach John Scott certainly stays on them about staying on it.
“That’s something that our coach has harped on, about holding that double team and making sure the linebacker can come underneath over the top to make those plays,” Agim said. “So if it takes two to block me he can shoot right up in there in the gap.”
Despite the increased double teams, Jackson and Agim insist this 3-4 is less restrictive.
“Last year I felt we were stuck in one place,” Agim said. “Now I feel like a lot of movement is going on and that we can make a lot of plays out of this defense.”
Agim praised sophomore T.J. Smith at the other defensive end.
“T.J. has been great,” Agim said. “He’s been holding his gap and making plays.”
ARKANSAS TAKES ON THE WORLD
Entire countries won’t win as many prestigious medals as those who have represented Arkansas won this week at the ongoing World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in London.
Omar McLeod repeated his 2016 Olympic gold for Jamaica winning the World’s 110- meter hurdles while Texarkana, Texas, native Jarrion Lawson leaped to the World’s long jump silver for the United States. They are both former NCAA champions for Coach Chris Bucknam’s Razorbacks men.
Sandi Morris, the former NCAA champion for Coach Lance Harter’s Razorbacks women, repeated her Olympic silver for the U.S. in the World’s pole vault.
Kemar Mowatt, returning to Bucknam’s men as a senior in 2018, runs the World’s 400-meter hurdles final for Jamaica today.
“If you don’t make the play but tie up blockers, that’s how NFL scouts look at it. Even if you don’t make a play, did you hold your own? Did you do your assignment? You’ve got to make sure you are staying on that.”
— Arkansas Razorbacks defensive end McTelvin Agim