Hogs have strong indoor scrimmage

Hogs have strong indoor scrimmage


Hogs have strong indoor scrimmage


Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema watches play on the sidelines during the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field.

Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema watches play on the sidelines during the second half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field.

The Razorbacks knew they weren’t going to have their typical full-scale Saturday spring scrimmage, but they also knew they would have a long, hard Saturday practice.

In deference to rain, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema practiced the Razorbacks inside the Walker Pavilion.

With spring injuries currently minimized, and the Red-White game still to be played this coming Saturday, Bielema wasn’t going to press his luck scrimmaging the Razorbacks, even had they gone outside to Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

There was enough contact, even without full tackling, to work up more than just a good sweat.

“I challenged our coaches to get these guys a little bit riled up for today’s practice, get them in a frame of mind to come out and practice hard, and they did,” Bielema said. “I thought that was a really good two-and-a-half hours of good work. I think they practice very, very hard.”

Bielema has praised senior starting quarterback Brandon Allen after every Saturday practice, and this one proved no exception.

“Brandon Allen continues to impress me,” Bielema said. “Some of the throws he’s making. Showed some red zone clips of him this last week, was very impressive.”

At backup quarterback, Bielema lists third-year sophomore Austin Allen slightly ahead of redshirt freshman quarterback RafePeavey, while January enrollee Ty Storey of Charleston apprentices.

“Austin Allen, I would say off the top of my head,” Bielema said when asked who leads the race to be the backup QB. “Austin right there at the end of the two-minute drill, just throwing the ball extremely well. I don’t know how much I’d say he’s ahead of Rafe, because Rafe is doing some really nice things. But just the longevity, Austin’s been in our program a little bit longer.

“I think Rafe has continued to come along and is right there nipping. If not 2A, 2B more than anything. Ty had a nice week as well. Ty’s playing as well as he has since he’s been here.”

Peavey and Storey made some good passes Saturday, but each were intercepted once.

Walk-on linebacker Josh Harris intercepted one, and walk-on defensive back Ryder Lucas intercepted another.

Though only 5-foot-10, redshirt freshman Harris has stood tall in the spring scrimmages.

“He’s a very instinctive player,” Bielema said. “He’s going to be a dynamic player for us in special situations, maybe some critical downs. Maybe a nickel backer, something along those lines. Also I think he’ll be a terror on special teams. He’s a guy we’ll definitely search roles for.”

Redshirt freshman receiver Jojo Robinson caught a touchdown from Austin Allen and also made an impressive leaping catch along the sideline.

In Bielema’s disciplinary doghouse earlier this spring, Robinson, of Miami, has stood out in recent practices and apparently doing what is asked off the field and in the classroom.

“Jo Jo has had a nice spring,” Bielema said. “He catches the ball really well.”

Bielema said Robinson has capitalized on a fellow receiver from Miami, Kendrick Edwards, being removed from the team for academics. He added that sophomore linebacker Randy Ramsey, of Fort Lauderdale, isn’t practicing to work on his academics.

Bielema had publicly presented Edwards with options to transfer, but said Saturday that Edwards wants to return and will be given an opportunity to do so.

“He won’t be with us the rest of the spring,” Bielema said. “But, I will allow him to join us in summer classes as kind of a probationary status if he does what we ask him to do and what we expect him to do. He has grown a tremendous amount in the last three or four weeks.”

Senior receiver KeonHatcher and redshirt freshman safety Santos Ramirez both drew Bielema’s praise Saturday as did defensive end Deatrich Wise.

Deatrich Wise had by far his best week of practice,” Bielema said.

Senior running back Jonathan Williams — not scrimmaging under Bielema’s orders to minimize injury risk — practiced on a Saturday for the first time this spring since it was the first Saturday that Arkansas didn’t scrimmage.

“We were giving him a little bit of grief beforehand if he knew what day it was because he was out there practicing,” Bielema said. “Just if you know anything about J-Will, he wasn’t going to miss today. He knew it was an opportunity to get better.”

Williams’ presence was welcomed in the backfield. Alex Collins, though expected back for the final three practices, Bielema said, was withheld Saturday because of an ankle injury. Fullback-tailback Kody Walker practiced in a green, no-contact jersey as a minor injury precaution, as did senior strong safety Rohan Gaines.

Bielema said for this week’s Red-White game, new offensive coordinator Dan Enos will call plays from the sideline, and second-year defensive coordinator Robb Smith again will coordinate from the sideline.

The Razorbacks have Tuesday and Thursday practices remaining before the Red-White wrap-up.


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