Every Monday, The SEC Blog will feature an assistant coach in the SEC. This week, we take a look at Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes.
Paul Haynes didn't expect an offseason like the one Arkansas went through when he was named defensive coordinator on Dec. 9, 2011.
The first-year defensive coordinator of the Arkansas Razorbacks has gone through a lot during his short time in Fayetteville. Despite the motorcycle accident and coverup that cost former head coach Bobby Petrino his job, Haynes' most notable accomplishment was actually on the field.
In the 2012 Cotton Bowl, Haynes' defense gave up 87 total rushing yards to a Kansas State team that averaged 185.46 yards per game on the ground. During that game, he called his defense and ran it through a translator to convert it to the language used in the old system.
Not a bad debut.
Prior to joining the staff at Arkansas, Haynes was on the staff at Ohio State. From 2005-10, he served as defensive backs coach for the Buckeyes. During that time, the Ohio State defense finished in the top 10 nationally in total defense three times (2007, '09, '10).
He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator in 2011, and his Buckeyes finished fifth in the Big Ten in total defense after giving up 323.5 yards per game.
Haynes was brought in for one reason and one reason alone—fix the Razorbacks defense enough to contend for a national title.
With quarterback Tyler Wilson and running back Knile Davis on the other side the ball, that's all that Arkansas needs.
Despite the lack of success on defense, Haynes has plenty to work with.
Tenarius Wright moved from defensive end to middle linebacker this offseason, and he says that he feels comfortable at that spot. Outside linebacker Alonzo Highsmith missed the spring with a torn tendon ins his pectoral muscle, but he burst onto the scene last season with 80 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss. Tevin Mitchel has a ton of potential and is coming off a freshman season where he tallied 56 tackles.
It should be an interesting year in Fayetteville. The Hogs still have plenty of weapons offensively, but the loss of Bobby Petrino has shifted the focus a bit from fixing the defense to maintaining the power of the offense. Arkansas should be fine offensively, and marginal improvement on the defense could make the Razorbacks a legitimate national title contender.