Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema has had a “win the day” mentality ever since taking over the program eight months ago. On Monday the team had its first real chance to actually do that as fall camp officially opened.
Bielema says he's extremely encouraged with what he saw, especially from the freshman. He credits that to the great senior leadership throughout the summer.
The Hogs are dealing with one potential piece of bad news. Wide receiver Mekale McKay is looking at his option to transfer to another school. McKay is the most experienced receiver coming back. He started 10 games last year with more than 300 yards receiving on 21 catches. However, he has had trouble adapting to Bret Bielema’s new system. McKay was listed as a back-up heading into the summer.
“During transition there's going to be certain guys who jump in and go full speed ahead,” said Bielema. “There's going to be others where it just isn't the same. I know he expressed interest to me in an offense that was here prior to us. He's a very talented football player and is more than adequate to handle everything, but sometimes the fit just isn’t there.”
Other than that, the first day of camp was a success. Coach Bielema said he couldn't ask for anything better and that the biggest challenge toward getting better will come not during practice one today, but practices 15 to 20 at the end of August.
“If there was one word to characterize the meetings, I'd say they were all engaged,” said Bielema. “One of my challenges to the assistant coaches it to increase the football IQ of our players as often and well as possible. I know they've taken that as a mission and hopefully that's going to happen.”
Arkansas continues practice on Tuesday and will be allowed to wear full pads later this week.