Ousley, Jackson and UA Offense Shine in Saturd
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Freshman transfer Carlos Ousley made four catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns and redshirt freshman Tarvaris Jackson passed for three scores to lead the way for the Arkansas offense in a 80-plus play scrimmage at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday morning.
“We got in about 82 plays and there was a lot of good hitting out there,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “There are some things that we can do better and correct. We still have a little ways to go, but until you look at the film you won’t know totally. This is what this day was for to look hard at everybody. We are looking for two things great effort and what they know when the coaches aren’t out there every single play.”
The Razorback offense engineered several long drives and found success on the ground as well as through the air. Jackson and Ousley combined on touchdown passes of 46 and 13 yards while Jackson hooked up with sophomore Decori Birmingham for another 11-yard score. Sophomore Ryan Sorahan tallied a 13-yard touchdown toss to junior Brandon Holmes to round out the Hogs’ aerial scoring.
“Carlos Ousley has gotten a lot better,” Nutt said. “He has really improved. He is getting better with the offense.”
Sophomore quarterback Matt Jones completed only two passes, but rushed for 88 yards including a 65-yard touchdown jaunt on the first play of the scrimmage. Sorahan connected on five of nine passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. The three quarterbacks combined for 289 yards and five touchdowns without a turnover. Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Nutt was complimentary of all three of the Razorback signal callers as well as UA quarterbacks coach David Lee.
“Our quarterbacks showed today that we have three quarterbacks that can execute,” Nutt said. “We feel like we can win with all three of these guys. That is a real plus.
“We are lucky to have David Lee. He is an excellent teacher. Matt (Jones) hasn’t been out there that long, but he has jumped up. He is more comfortable and his footwork is getting better. He is getting more confidence with his throws and his arm is getting stronger. Ryan Sorahan isn’t the same quarterback anymore. He is much different He is stronger. Tarvaris Jackson, anyone can see he has a strong arm, but today he made three key checks. When you start to become a coach on the field and get us out of the bad play, it makes us all look that much better.”
Junior Cedric Cobbs paced all Razorback running backs with 60 yards on seven carries including a five-yard touchdown run. Redshirt freshman Kyle Dickerson rushed five times for 37 yards and a touchdown while senior Fred Talley earned 36 yards on seven totes. Junior Brandon Holmes tallied 21 yards on five carries.
“I feel like the strengths after nine or 10 practices is our depth at running back,” Nutt said. “All three of the guys that are playing with some experience, you are proud of those guys. But Cedric has probably come the furthest with everything and his life off the field. That is what I most impressed with. But he is hitting the hole. He isn’t dancing when he gets to the line of scrimmage. Then he is letting Mother Nature take over where last year he came up there looking for the big run. I’ve been really impressed with his toughness.”
There were plenty of standouts on the defensive side of the ball as well. Jimmy Beasley led all tacklers with seven stops including a jarring tackle for loss on a carry by Dickerson. Beasley earned two tackles for loss on the day for a total of 17 yards in lost real estate. Redshirt freshman Dionis Harvey also earned seven tackles while juniors Jimarr Gallon and Bo Mosley earned six tackles a piece.
Junior free safety Ken Hamlin made three tackles and broke up a pass in limited duty. Hamlin has been practicing with a cast protecting his broken thumb.
“Defensively Gavin Walls is really showing up and continues to be a leader for us,” Nutt said. “Jimmy Beasley and Tony Bua make plays. Hamlin is out there. You can’t get him off the field. He shouldn’t be out there, but he wraps it up and just loves football. We got him about 15 snaps or less. You are just trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.”
The Razorback kicking game looked good on Saturday as UA kickers combined to hit nine of 11 field goal attempts and three of three extra point tries. Junior Brennan O’Donohoe was perfect on five field goal attempts including a 42-yard effort. Sophomore David Carlton hit a trio of field goal attempts from 37 yards.
Arkansas escaped Saturday’s action nearly unscathed in the injury department. Outside linebacker Lerinezo Robinson suffered a right thigh bruise, but should be able to return to spring practice next week. Nutt said flanker George Wilson was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his injured knee later on Saturday and his status would be determined early next week. Wilson sprained his right knee in Friday’s light workout.
The Hogs will take off Sunday before returning to the practice field on Monday. After another off day Tuesday, the Razorbacks will conclude spring practice with workouts on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before staging the annual red vs. white scrimmage on Saturday.
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