The weekly depth chart released in Arkansas football’s game notes doesn’t always paint an accurate picture of where players stand in the pecking order at their respective positions.
Even a list of starters fails to accomplish that fully. Snap counts, which are compiled by Pro Football Focus, are the best when it comes to that.
For example, AJ Green started at running back against LSU, but played just 14 snaps compared to 47 snaps by Rashod Dubinion.
Here are a few other takeaways from the snap counts in Arkansas vs LSU…
Devon Manuel Enters the Mix
Had he not gone down with an injury during fall camp, Devon Manuel likely would have been Arkansas’ starting left tackle from the jump. Instead, his absence allowed Andrew Chamblee to work with the first-team offense and he did enough to earn the job.
The redshirt freshman out of Maumelle made his fourth straight start against LSU, but if the snap distribution is any indication, a change could be coming soon. Chamblee played only 17 snaps, compared to Manuel’s 54.
It’s the first time Manuel — who didn’t play at all the previous week against BYU because of a stinger — has played the majority of the snaps at left tackle. There was close to a 50/50 split in the opener against Western Carolina (Chamblee – 38 snaps / Manuel – 33) before Chamblee nearly doubled him up against Kent State (42 vs. 23).
After some early rotation, it seems like the other four spots — Brady Latham at left guard, Beaux Limmer at center, Joshua Braun at right guard and Patrick Kutas at right tackle — are locked up, as they each played 100% of the snaps Saturday.
Iron Men at Wide Receiver
Even under former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, the Razorbacks have traditionally rotated five wide receivers on offense. That was the case last week against BYU, but they pared it down to just four against LSU.
Isaac TeSlaa was a true iron man, playing all 71 snaps, and Andrew Armstrong wasn’t too far behind him, playing all but two snaps. Their increased workload meant there was only one wide receiver spot open for rotation and it wasn’t even on the field all the time because of Arkansas’ various personnel groupings.
The Razorbacks’ third transfer wide receiver got most of those snaps, as Tyrone Broden was on the field for a season-high 40 plays. That was by design; Sam Pittman has mentioned multiple times that they wanted to find ways to get him the ball more.
The only other receiver who saw action on offense was Jaedon Wilson, whose playing time dropped significantly — from 44.2% of the snaps over the first three weeks to just 12.7% (9 of 71) against LSU. That is likely the result of multiple critical drops in the previous two games by the redshirt sophomore.
Personnel Groupings for Arkansas Football
It’s not always perfect, but how often Arkansas football lined up with various personnel groupings on the field can usually be determined by the individual player snap counts.
For example, using the snap counts for the wide receivers listed above, it can be deduced that the Razorbacks lined up in their base 11 personnel — meaning one running back, one tight end and three receivers — for 47 of 71 plays, which is 66.2%.
For the other snaps, Arkansas was in 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends and two receivers) 29.6% of the time and 21 personnel (two running backs, one tight end and two receivers) for just three plays, or 4.2%.
That’s pretty much in line with the BYU game, which saw the Razorbacks play 60.8% of their snaps in 11 personnel, 32.9% in 12 personnel and 6.3% in 21 personnel.
This is a stark contrast to what Arkansas did under former offensive coordinator Kendal Briles the last three seasons, when it almost exclusively used 11 personnel.
Little-to-No Rotation at Linebacker Again
Early in the season, Arkansas appeared to have more depth at linebacker than it has in quite some time.
Sophomore Jordan Crook started the opener and true freshman Brad Spence got the nod in Week 2, with both starting alongside Cincinnati transfer Jaheim Thomas. However, those starts were likely due to Chris “Pooh” Paul Jr. being banged up in fall camp and then being suspended for the first half because of a targeting penalty.
Now healthy, Paul — as expected — has become a staple of Arkansas’ defense. In fact, he was the Razorbacks’ lone defender to play all 59 defensive snaps against LSU.
It was essentially a two-man show for Arkansas because Thomas played 55 of 59 snaps. The only other linebackers who saw the field were Crook and Spence, who played one snap apiece.
The snaps were much the same a week earlier against BYU. Paul and Thomas played 57 and 54 snaps, respectively, out of 59, while Crook played four and Antonio Grier played two.
Those have actually been the only defensive snaps by Grier since he burst onto the scene against Kent State with a pick-six on his first play with the Razorbacks. He was limited to only special teams on Saturday.
Grier, a South Florida transfer, took to social media Sunday morning to share that he was fully healthy and, in the same since-deleted tweet, ask the question some fans may also be asking: “Where is Grier?”
In the past, not rotating players at linebacker has hurt Arkansas because they wear down and aren’t as effective late as they are early on. Under former defensive coordinator Barry Odom, it had a pretty solid three-man rotation and it led to more success at the position.
Something to monitor moving forward will be whether or not one of those other linebackers emerges to give Paul and Thomas a breather when needed.
Splitting Reps at Cornerback
Last week against BYU, Arkansas shuffled up its secondary by starting Jaylon Braxton at one corner and sliding Lorando Johnson from nickel to the other corner with Hudson Clark getting the nod at nickel.
Usual starting cornerbacks Dwight McGlothern and Jaheim Singletary eventually rotated in and played a healthy number of snaps, but Pittman said Braxton had earned the right to start by how he practiced.
McGlothern and Singletary were back in the starting lineup Saturday and the former played 52 of 59 snaps. The latter had a rough game, allowing three touchdown passes, and played only 32 snaps. He was splitting time with Braxton, who played 25 snaps.
If Singletary’s struggles continue, Braxton might get another look as a starter, especially if this rotation continues and he plays well.
Arkansas Football Snap Counts
- *QB KJ Jefferson – 71
- *WR Isaac TeSlaa – 71
- *RT Patrick Kutas – 71
- *RG Joshua Braun – 71
- *C Beaux Limmer – 71
- *LG Brady Latham – 71
- *WR Andrew Armstrong – 69
- *TE Luke Hasz – 63
- LT Devon Manuel – 54
- RB Rashod Dubinion – 47
- *WR Tyrone Broden – 40
- TE Nathan Bax – 28
- *LT Andrew Chamblee – 17
- *RB AJ Green – 14
- RB Dominique Johnson – 13
- WR Jaedon Wilson – 9
- TE Var’keyes Gumms – 1
- *LB Chris Paul Jr. – 59
- *NB Lorando Johnson – 58
- *S Hudson Clark – 56
- *LB Jaheim Thomas – 55
- *CB Dwight McGlothern – 52
- *S Jayden Johnson – 42
- *DE Landon Jackson – 35
- *CB Jaheim Singletary – 32
- *DT Eric Gregory – 31
- *DE Trajan Jeffcoat – 31
- DT Cameron Ball – 30
- DE Jashaud Stewart – 28
- S Alfahiym Walcott – 28
- DE John Morgan III – 28
- CB Jaylon Braxton – 25
- DT Keivie Rose – 25
- *DT Taurean Carter – 24
- DE Zach Williams – 4
- NB TJ Metcalf – 3
- LB Brad Spence – 1
- DT Ian Geffrard – 1
- LB Jordan Crook – 1
More coverage of Arkansas football from BoAS…