FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas was back at it in full pads on the practice field on Monday afternoon to kick off the second week of spring practice. The Razorbacks returned to the gridiron for the first time since staging a 70-plus play scrimmage on Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said while his team may still be feeling the effects of the first week of drills, it will still need to take advantage of the limited practice time spring has to offer.
“We were a little bit sore today, but after we got going we were a little bit better,” Nutt said. “We are just trying to get a full day out of them everyday. Every practice is precious. Whether they know it or not, this is an unbelievable opportunity to get better. If you are second team, you are a play away. If you are second team you could be first team. There are jobs at stake. Get ready and compete. We have made some improvement. We need to keep coming every single day.”
Nutt said that a review of scrimmage film revealed efficient execution by the Razorback offense. The Hogs’ head coach also was encouraged by some traits of the Arkansas defense. Nutt said although the execution wasn’t up to standards on Saturday, the passion and effort on the defensive side of the ball bodes well for the upcoming season.
“When you watch the defense, the thing that I love about them is that they are playing awfully fast,” Nutt said. “We didn’t tackle. But that is actually the first time we have tackled live to the ground, so I’m not worried about that. The thing about our defense, when you look at the effort of each one they are giving it to us. They are giving us great effort. We are going to be quick. They may not be the biggest, but we are going to be extremely quick. If we keep working on the fundamentals of tackling, we are going to be all right there.”
One of the defensive bright spots on Saturday was redshirt freshman Rashaad Johnson. The younger brother of Arkansas quarterback Robert Johnson, Rashaad was moved to the first team after a solid week of practice and an impressive scrimmage effort. Nutt says his move up the depth chart can be traced to his consistency.
“He is athletic and is rangy,” Nutt said. “He has made a play or two. He still needs to tackle better and get the feel of the game. Right now, he has made the fewest mistakes and that is why he is in the number one slot. He has some people on his heels. Some people are going to pick up their game. He has to keep coming.”
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Rod Coleman remained sidelined after slightly pulling a hamstring late last week. “It makes you sick for a guy like that to miss this much of the spring, especially when we were counting on him to make a move this spring,” Nutt said.
Arkansas will practice again on Tuesday before taking Wednesday as an off day. The Razorbacks will likely scrimmage again on Saturday.
The Hogs will conclude spring practice on April 15 with the annual Red-White Game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. There will be no admission charged for the game.
The spring game will kick off at 1 p.m. and will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by ESPNU. The network will televise the game at 5 p.m. CT on that Saturday.