FAYETTEVILLE – The Razorback football team practiced in shoulder pads and shorts inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Tuesday as it continues to prepare for its game with the LSU Tigers on Friday afternoon.
The Razorbacks started with stretching and drills before moving on to the heart of their practice which included both the offense and defense working against scout teams and becoming familiar with what the Tigers might try to do.
“I thought it flew by,” Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said. “It went good, we got our work done.”
The Razorbacks have gotten great play this season from junior Malcolm Sheppard who leads the Razorbacks in three defensive categories including tackles for a loss. A fixture on the defensive line, Robinson praised Sheppard’s play this season.
“Sheppard has been outstanding for us,” Robinson said. “You walk in to that wall and see his picture. His mug is on that wall for grinder and player. He’s really done a nice job for us. He’s extremely active; he goes full speed all the time. He’s a guy that they are going to have to account for. The sooner the better, but he’s been very active and productive for us.”
Arkansas has been thin at the linebacker position this season and redshirt freshman Jerry Franklin has filled a huge hole for the Razorbacks. Against Mississippi State, Franklin moved from an inside linebacker spot to the outside during the game which earned him high praise from Robinson.
“He’s made a great transition,” Robinson said. “I think that he feels more comfortable out there already. He’s made a great transition. It’s a hard duty last week in the middle of the game to have to go and do it, all of sudden he had to switch the side of the brain. That hurt him a little bit. He’s really done a good job this week.”
Razorback safety Matt Harris is also a player that has seen plenty of action this fall and Robinson commented on his progression.
“I think it’s his confidence and his reps,” Robinson said of Harris. “He’s matured as the year has gone on. You would like to see him stay on his feet a little bit more, but the thing is he is productive and he gets them down.”
One thing that the Razorbacks are preparing for is a change at quarterback for the Tigers and Robinson and his staff are preparing for what LSU might do.
“He is their future obviously,” Robinson said. “The thing about him is he is awfully talented. He’s big, athletic, wants the ball in his hand; wants to be the guy that makes the decisions.
He’ll look at his intended receiver and work it a little bit. In first and second down situations he is willing to make the throw. He’s strong armed and confident, he’ll throw it and force it but on third down if it’s taken care of and the coverage is there he’s a dangerous guy that will take off and run for the first down.”
Arkansas conducts its final practice of the season in Fayetteville on Wednesday prior to making the trip to Little Rock for the LSU contest. For more information regarding Razorback football or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.