FAYETTEVILLE — Redshirt junior safety Simeon Blair continues to draw praise from Sam Pittman and other Razorbacks for his play at safety.
Blair came to Arkansas as a preferred walk-on, but earned a scholarship and extensive playing time. In 2020, Blair played in nine games finishing with 23 tackles, including 10 solo, and a pair of pass breakups. Blair talked about what has led to him having the success he has.
“One thing that I did Coach (Sam) Carter really talks to us that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything,” Blair said. “So I just went about trying to do as hard as I can in every aspect of my life even if that’s education, the best football, I’m going to do it to the max. So I need to get my work done and get that done beforehand. That way I can watch more film and film has been a big part in why I’m playing more confident this spring because I watch more film than I feel I did in my entire life and it’s good to see that paying off for me.”
Blair takes pride in his physical style of play and that even goes back to his high school days.
“I’ve always played like that,” Blair said. “There’s only one way you can play defense. You’ve got to play defense violent and fast, so I just try to keep that in my mind every play, even if we’re in practice. I try to be in game mode, even in practice, because the way you practice is the way you’re going to play. If you practice soft and aren’t running fast to the ball every play, you’re going to do that in a game one some plays. I just try to keep that in my mind, to practice hard, because that’s how the game is going to be.”
His teammates have taken notice including wide receiver Trey Knox who has gone against him in practice frequently.
“Oh Simeon is a great player,” Knox said. “He will not hesitate to hit you. The boy’s smart. He reads his keys. I mean he’s calling out plays just off of our alignment that we run and they’re jumping routes and they’re over there making plays. Simeon’s a great player.”
The secondary figures to be one of the strongest areas of the team this year with seemingly much more depth than last season.
“The secondary, we’re a real close-knit group,” Blair said. “We love to be around each other, so at the beginning we always rotated in, that way I was playing with different people almost every day. That way, when you get in there with those people you’re able to talk, communicate with them. I just feel like we’re very strong back there, we’ve done a better job of communicating this year, and communication has been the key, especially when we have so many DBs back there.”
Blair also noted that due to Carter and Barry Odom training each player to be versatile and play various spots that makes the secondary even better and deeper.
“In our defense, Coach Carter and Coach Odom do a big job on emphasizing you have to know the entire defense, especially when we play so many DBs,” Blair said. “You might get caught in some situations where the boundary safety might end up having to do the nickel’s job. We all move around, we all play different positions, and I feel like Coach does that just in case something happens during the season or anything. We all know everybody’s position back there.”
Arkansas will practice on Saturday. The spring game is the following Saturday at 2 p.m.