FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas Razorback football practiced for two hours in full pads Wednesday morning. Practice was moved to the Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion because of the threat of inclement weather.
Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said the defense is starting to move better and respond to negative situations. He said the defensive unit needs to take responsibility and have pride on every down.
“Today, everybody was doing that,” Robinson said. “So all of a sudden we started to see success. You see the energy of what happens when you do start having success. We have to overcome. If some things aren’t going right, it’s how you respond to it and that’s what we do.”
While the Arkansas defense is starting to respond and make plays, Robinson said the group still needs to work harder at getting to the ball at full speed and making sure all 11 players on defense are on the same page.
“We’re still not quite getting that,” Robinson said. “The thing we had the other day is we had 10 people doing their job but the breakdown came from the fact that one guy didn’t do his job. So when one guy doesn’t do his job, there’s going to be a breakdown. It makes things dirty, we don’t know how to fit, we don’t know how to play things. It’s about the 11 guys on the field doing what’s right.”
Robinson said movement on the depth chart within the secondary will continue as the Razorbacks look for consistency from the players and continuity with the group on the field.
“We’ve made a move where we’ve moved (Ramon) Broadway up in front of (Jamar) Love,” Robinson said. “I don’t expect things to stay that way. If all of a sudden we make those position changes and we change our depth chart, you’d like to think the guy that’s moved from a one to a two is going to rustle up and try to compete and come back and be a one. It only makes us stronger in the competitive sense.
“At the corner position, (Isaac) Madison is playing pretty good. He has his days where he has his ups and downs, but he’s been playing pretty consistently. He has to improve on his tackling. We need our corners to tackle and they have to be able to play both phases. Love was a situation where we felt he wasn’t playing up to his expectations that we feel, so we had to make that move.”
Some of the moves made by the coaching staff have involved moving less experienced players up in the rotation to get more reps during practice.
“So it’s a matter of do you deal with the growing pains,” Robinson said. “How long do you do that before you feel comfortable possibly going back to that next guy if he showed us he wanted to be that type of football player: a physical, smart, tough football player.”
Robinson talked about the physical and tough nature of freshman safety Elton Ford who is still working on fully understanding the whole concept of the defense.
“He’s a very conscientious young man,” Robinson said. “It’s not like he means to do things wrong, so he’s just got to learn certain things—where he needs to be and trust his speed—knowing that if he keys and stops and runs at it, the physical part is going to show up.”
Arkansas will continue with its preseason workouts as the season draws nearer. The Razorbacks will play host to Western Illinois on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.