Two linebackers, running back leave Hogs


Arkansas coach Bret Bielema revealed last month that cornerback Ray Buchanan Jr. would be leaving the program after two seasons with the Razorbacks.

Bielema confirmed Tuesday that Buchanan will have some company. Three others members of the 2013 team — linebacker A.J. Turner, linebacker Myke Tavarres and running back Nate Holmes — are looking into transfer options as well.

“They’re guys that weren’t involved in our game plans,” Bielema said. “Guys that really, for how they do things and what we want to get done here, it’s probably better that they move on. I’ll try to help them in any way that I can.”

Holmes, Turner and Buchanan Jr., were all members of Arkansas’ 2012 signing class, while Arkansas signed Tavarres out of a junior college last year.

Turner started six games and recorded 53 tackles as a true freshman in 2012, but missed the 2013 season because of a wrist injury. Speculation about Turner’s future at Arkansas began swirling in early November and Bielema didn’t end the chatter, saying on his weekly radio the Razorbacks would have to “wait and see.”

Holmes began his sophomore season in a three-player rotation at running back, but finished with just 17 yards on six carries in four games. Tavarres, meanwhile, spent most of the season with Arkansas’ scout team and didn’t factor into its defensive plans despite arriving on campus early to participate in spring practice last year.

Flowers testing NFL waters

Bielema said defensive end Trey Flowers is weighing his options after submitting paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory committee earlier this month.

“We’re in the waiting process now,” Bielema said. “He’ll get a grade back from the NFL. I’ve gathered information for him from the NFL as well as our academic support staff as well as a couple of agents. If he’s drafted here, what kind of money is he looking at? Where could he benefit from staying? All that stuff.”

Flowers led the Hogs with 13 1/2 tackles for losses and was second on the team in sacks (5) as a junior. He has 32 tackles for losses and 12 sacks in his career.

Bielema said Arkansas wants Flowers to return “if it’s the right thing for him.” He would be the most experienced defensive lineman back next season with outgoing seniors Chris Smith, Byran Jones and Robert Thomas preparing for the NFL.

“I think he’s generally intrigued where he’s at, where he stands and where he could possibly be drafted at,” Bielema said about the process.

Offense vs. defense

Arkansas’ coaching staff is off the road recruiting until Jan. 16. So Bielema said his offensive and defensive staffs are taking on a different challenge this week.

They’re game planning for each other in what is serving as a self-scouting exercise.

“Our offensive staff is breaking down our defensive plays and calls and vice versa,” Bielema said. “Like they’re going to play each other. We’re not going to play each other this Thursday, but we’re going to talk about it for a day and a half. Just about what they saw, what are things they can pick up that can help each other out.

“It’s one of the more enjoyable weeks of the year just to kind of have that challenge. It allows our staff to grow a lot together.”

Extra points

Former Arkansas place kicker Zach Hocker has accepted an invitation to participate in the East-West Shrine Game, which will be played in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Jan. 18. Hocker went 13 of 15 on field goals and 28 of 28 on extra points in 2013. He also holds the school’s career scoring mark (354 points). … Arkansas center Travis Swanson earned honorable mention All-American honors from SI.com on Tuesday. It is the fourth All-America recognition Swanson has received this month.