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Top 10 Questions Entering the Razorback Football Season-No. 7: Linebackers

Those close to Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis say there was a reason why he jumped at the chance to go to Arkansas after the coaching change at Texas A&M. Chavis coaches linebackers and he inherits two of the best in the SEC in Dre Greenlaw and Scoota Harris. The two combined for 193 tackles last season.

Harris lead the team in stops. Greenlaw was right behind him. With Kevin Richardson getting a sixth year of eligibility you can add his 42 tackles into the mix at the hybrid linebacker/nickel back position. Backup linebacker Grant Morgan recorded 30 tackles last season. So Chavis will be coaching a group of guys who had 265 tackles in 2017. Each of them is an excellent pass rusher and they are good in pass coverage too.

Chavis is taking the defense back to the 4-3 scheme it employed until last season when Bret Bielema switched to a 3-4 with the promise of better blitzing. The anticipated pressure rarely happened and Arkansas' defense was mostly a reactive unit, meaning opposing quarterbacks often had as much time as they needed to spot and connect with open receivers. Chavis is promising to end that frustration. He is confident enough in these guy's ability to pressure quarterbacks that the secondary will apparently be playing a lot of man coverage this season.

Morris has said that Greenlaw and Harris made a quick transition back to the 4-3 because of their familiarity with it from the 2016 season. But offensive guard  Hjalte Froholdt, who has gone up against Greenlaw and Harris in practice for the past two years, says those guys can play in any scheme. They're tough to catch up to, hard to block and they have a nose for the football according to Froholdt.

If you've been frustrated by an Arkansas defense that had a bend but don't break philosophy, but all too often would both bend and break, Chavis promises to attack with players like Greenlaw, Harris and K-Rich.

How well will it work? We'll all find out soon enough.


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