FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –- Eight days after putting his football team through a 150-plus play scrimmage, Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino took it easy on his club with around 140 plays in Saturday’s major scrimmage in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The offense scored 10 touchdowns, six passing and four rushing, while the defense recorded three interceptions, forced one fumble, and recorded 13 tackles for loss and 12 quarterback sacks.
Senior quarterback Casey Dick had another big day. A week after completing 24-of-40 passes for 304 yards and two scores with an interception, he was 26-of-39 for 309 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
On the ground, junior running back Michael Smith ran for 113 yards on 19 carries while Brandon Barnett had 45 on 10.
“It was a good scrimmage,” Petrino said. “We didn’t go as long as we did a week ago. That was obviously planned, but I thought the offense came out and was executing pretty good. We can’t turn the ball over. I think a step we took forward defensively is that we created turnovers and the DBs played their coverage responsibilities in zone much better. They kept their eyes on the quarterback and got some interceptions.
“Our third downs improved a lot from a week ago,” he said. “The last time, on third downs the defense really got after the offense, but I think the offense won the third-down battle today. Our tight ends continue to be good football players. I’m impressed with our secondary. I think they are getting better and better.”
Cornerback Darrell Glasper was the star in the defensive backfield. The 5-8, 180-pound sophomore transfer from LSU had two interceptions, three passes broken up and nine tackles.
“They’ve been pushing him from day one,” Petrino said. “He’s very quick and smart. Today, he kept his eyes back in the backfield and made some good plays. The thing you worry about there is the size matchup when someone finds that size.”
Senior linebacker Elston Forte led the defense with 10 tackles while redshirt freshman linebacker Jerry Franklin matched Glasper with nine.
Junior defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard had six tackles with three sacks while junior linebacker Robert Salinas had six tackles with two sacks.
Dick had scoring passes of six yards to Carlton Salters, and 11 and 31 yards to London Crawford.
“I like what I saw from Casey,” Petrino said. “I think he’s taken a step forward. Obviously I didn’t like the interception. That was a miss-read on coverage, but he showed some things today where he understood the progression and he understood the coverage looks and distributed the ball opposite the coverage.”
Crawford and Salters were the favorite targets on Saturday, combing for 16 receptions for 184 yards and three touchdowns.
“He’s doing a good job of executing our inside routes, working the linebackers and knowing the difference between zone and man,” Petrino said of Salters, a 6-0 sophomore. “The thing he has to be able to do is catch the ball in traffic. He’s done a nice job of concentrating. I think he came back from practice two days ago when he had a couple of drops inside and made the difficult catch inside today.”
Crawford, a 6-2 junior, missed last week’s scrimmage with an injury, but made an impression on his head coach on Saturday.
“We need London to be a player for us,” Petrino said. “He needs to be a guy we can rely on to make the big play. I think right now, if you look at our receivers, he’s the guy that runs with the ball the best after the catch. He missed the last scrimmage so it was good to see him come back and perform well today. Physically, he’s very strong and has really good hands at the line of scrimmage so if you come up and press him, he has a chance to win.”
The Razorbacks close spring practice next week, working out on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday before wrapping up with the Red-White Game on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The game is free and open to the public.