When it comes to receivers, the University of Arkansas does not have a long, illustrious history. Sure there have been standouts: Chuck Dicus in the ’60s, Bobby Duckworth, who played in the NFL in the ’80s, and Anthonys Eubanks and Lucas in the ’90s.
Don’t say Lance Alworth or Gary Anderson, however. Alworth, who is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, played running back at Arkansas, as did Anderson, mostly.
Yes, there were a few Arkansas receivers who played in the NFL way back like Preston Carpenter, but only a handful of Hog pass catchers have ever scratched the 50 mark in receptions for a season. In fact, the Razorbacks have been such groundhogs since Frank Broyles went ultra-conservative in the early ’70s that there have been eight seasons when the Hogs leading receiver had fewer than 20 catches for a season.
Whoa Nelly!, as the former voice of college football might say. Just like Bill Murray of the film Groundhog Day, Hog fans have awakened from having the same experience over and over, watching predictable, “play not to lose” offenses for years. Even though the 2008 season was not a stellar one, it was exciting seeing a football in the air downfield for something other than a punt, for a change. The Groundhog Day offense is no more with a head coach who doesn’t call plays as if he’s scared of his own shadow only to crawl back in his hole for six weeks.
Tight end D.J. Williams jumped from five catches in 2007 to 63 in 2008, earning himself a spot on the Mackey Award watchlist. [read more]