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.”