FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas Razorback football practiced for two hours in full pads on Thursday. The practice, chock-full of scrimmaging drills, took place on the practice fields just south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“I think we got a lot accomplished today,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “We came out and did some good, physical inside running that we did not do the other day. We had good work in the red zone and pass skeleton drills, but we need more and more work for our quarterbacks to understand how to get rid of the ball quicker.”
“I thought our defense did a good job early by coming out and making some good live tackles. We are going to come out tomorrow in half pads and get ready for Saturday’s scrimmage.”
Much of Thursday’s practice time was spent in scrimmage situations in preparations for Saturday’s longer scrimmage during practice.
“We are going to stress better execution and fewer errors on assignments,” Petrino said. “Defensively, we want to see everybody running towards the ball, and offensively, we want to work on our offensive line finishing every play.”
Petrino and his staff have praised the receiving corps since the start of practice but windy conditions on Thursday potentially led to a few incomplete passes by the Hogs.
“We had a couple of unusual drops, which were a combination of the ball not being there on time and receivers not going down to catch the ball,” Petrino said. “Sometimes the receiver has to make the quarterback better by making difficult catches. Sometimes the quarterback has to make the receiver better by putting the ball on him more.”
Among other adjustments being made during the spring season, the offense is also adjusting to having the ball thrown more and at various routes.
“First and foremost, mentally, they have to get focused because they are not used to getting that many balls thrown at them or taking that many reps. We have to win the mental game first, then we won’t have drops or other errors.”
In addition to a solid receiving corps, Michael Smith and Brandon Barnett have led the way for a steadily-improving group of running backs.
“Michael Smith is full speed and has more knowledge of what is going on in the back field,” Petrino said. “However, we still need to get Brandon (Barnett) and Chip Gregory playing more physical. I thought Brandon ran the ball better today, but he has to hold onto it and pass protect.”
Arkansas will return to practice Friday. It will be open to the public unless the workout is moved indoors. Log on to www.hogwired.com for an up-to-date schedule of Razorback spring football.