FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorback football team took to the practice fields Thursday morning for its only workout of the day. Arkansas continued its preparation for the 2008 season and Aug. 30 opener against Western Illinois at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino is looking for more from the team as practice sessions continue and the days count down to kick off.
“I wasn’t very happy with (today’s practice),” Petrino said. “We need to come out with more intensity and we need more leadership. Guys need to get after it better and bring more energy, so it wasn’t good enough. We need to be a lot better.”
Though he wasn’t pleased with Arkansas’ practice this morning, he was impressed with the offensive play during Wednesday’s scrimmage.
“I thought (Wednesday’s scrimmage) was good,” Petrino said. “We made a lot of big plays so that’s always a positive. Guys did a real good job at the receiver position. We got a lot of yards after the catch. Our running backs ran hard. It was definitely the best day our receivers have had, so that was a positive. All in all, it was a good day for the offense.”
With an offensive game plan that is expected to see Arkansas put the ball in the air more than in seasons past, the play of the Razorback quarterbacks will be crucial to the team’s success.
“I thought Casey (Dick) did a good job yesterday and did a lot of good things,” Petrino said. “He moved the team well. He still has a few things he can improve on, but he’s played well and showed a lot of progress. I’m real happy. I think he’s doing good.”
Freshman signal caller Tyler Wilson also showed good signs during Wednesday’s scrimmage, according to Petrino who was pleased with how well Wilson threw the ball and operated out of the shotgun. There is still room for improvement, however.
“The hardest thing for him was that he’d never taken a ball from under center,” Petrino said, “and never even had a cadence, so it’s those simple things that you think are real easy, early on are harder for him to do and adjust, but he’s real instinctive and did some nice things yesterday.”
Petrino said as practice continues during preseason camp, the players have to be mentally tough and be ready to practice every day. As the receivers coach, he tells his group how important it is to be at your best every practice.
“I think at the receiver position sometimes it’s survival of the fittest,” Petrino said. “If you go down, someone else steps up and has a day, then you’ve lost your job, so I always tell them every day that it’s survival of the fittest and if you’re not tough enough to be out there then you’re not going to play.
“They all have to be game ready. They’re all preparing to play. That crew and all those freshmen shouldn’t think about anything but playing. They’re all trying to show skills that they can do. We always say that the film is your resume, so they have to show on film what routes and stuff they’re good at. They showed that yesterday by putting things on their resume that were good.”
Friday’s practices at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. will be the final workouts open to the public. Fans are welcome to attend Fan Day on Saturday from 3-5 p.m. at The Gardens on the UA campus. Log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more news about Arkansas football.