Arkansas WRs hope to make a name for themselves

Ryan Mallett is preparing for the upcoming season amid a steady
buzz of Heisman Trophy hype. Meanwhile, the Arkansas receivers
he’ll throw to are struggling to crack the all-conference team.

As far as Greg Childs is concerned, something’s wrong with that
picture.

”It’s not really my place to say whether they were right or
wrong, but I just feel that they just kind of underrated us,” the
wide receiver said. ”When I didn’t make it, I had people all on
Facebook, writing me, writing on my walls, calling me.”

Childs caught 48 passes for 894 yards last season, and he’s not
the only Razorback who produced strong numbers. Joe Adams and
Jarius Wright were also productive, and they’re all ready to team
up again with Mallett, who broke several school passing records in
2009. Although the wide receivers are somewhat anonymous
nationally, that could quickly change if Arkansas performs as
expected.

Childs, Adams and Wright are all juniors, and they’ve received
regular playing time since arriving on campus. When Mallett took
over the starting quarterback spot last year, the team’s passing
game went to another level, and those three receivers combined for
118 receptions for 2,143 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Adams was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection by
The Associated Press last year, despite missing three games after
suffering a mild stroke in the middle of the season. Aside from
that, though, accolades have been rare for this group of
receivers.

Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams made the coaches’ preseason
all-conference team last month, but none of the wide receivers was
picked for the first or second team. When media attending the
conference’s media days voted, the same thing happened.

”We’re unhappy with it, but I guess that’s what they think,”
Wright said. ”We’re just willing to work hard and show them
different.”

The Arkansas receivers each has his own strengths. At 6-foot-3,
Childs is the most physically imposing, while Wright earns points
for his understanding of the offense and sharp route running.
Wright caught 41 passes for 681 yards last season.

The shifty Adams caught 29 passes for 568 yards, and he
impressed with his toughness after returning from the stroke.

”He’s the best double-move guy in the country. That’s hands
down, no doubt about it – the best I’ve ever seen at double
moves,” Mallett said. ”Once he gets the ball, it’s fun to watch
him. I like throwing it to Joe, because when he catches it,
something exciting’s going to happen.”

Sophomore Cobi Hamilton, who played at the same high school as
Mallett in Texarkana, Texas, is also working his way into the
mix.

With the season about a month away, the Razorbacks have room for
improvement. Arkansas ranked at the bottom of the SEC last season
in converting third downs, a sign that the offense was too reliant
on big plays.

”Coach wasn’t happy last year with the third-down conversion
rate. If you’re going to be good at that, you’ve got to be a good
intermediate-route team,” wide receivers coach Kris Cinkovich
said. ”Being great against man coverage is a point of
emphasis.”

Adams expects opponents to try to make Arkansas move the ball
slowly.

”Defenses like to drop their coverages deep, so you can’t go
deep,” he said. ”So you have to hit the check-downs. We’ve been
working really hard on that.”

If the Razorbacks can become more productive with that aspect of
the game, they’ll be difficult to stop – even for the SEC’s
powerhouses.

Then maybe these Arkansas receivers will enjoy a little more
recognition.

”Our goal is to be on the stuff at the end of the season, which
really matters,” Cinkovich said. ”That’s the performance- or
result-based stuff. As the SEC games get here, I’m certainly sure
there’s something to be said about it.”