FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas football team began practice Thursday afternoon with the team working out in shorts and helmets on the practice fields.
"It was good to get out on the field," said UA head coach Bobby Petrino. "We certainly didn’t do everything right, but I liked our enthusiasm. We didn’t have pads on so it’s hard. Our biggest emphasis without pads is to work on our technique and our fundamentals.
Newcomers to the team hit the fields first and worked out for an hour before the veterans joined in and the entire squad practiced together for another two hours.
"We’ve been preparing for this practice for a long, long time," said Petrino. "Our idea is the first couple of days we bring the freshmen out early and do the individual drills that we’re going to do with the veterans so they’ve been introduced to it. When we start practice they repeat those same drills so they aren’t far behind. The next three days after tomorrow we’ll start everyone out to start and then keep our newcomers out afterwards and they’ll repeat some of the group drills."
Working with the newcomers first gave the coaching staff the opportunity to see the many of the players they recruited.
"When they went out there as a group you saw the size and the length we recruited," said Petrino. "I like what I saw from all the new secondary guys."
Arkansas also began work on the punting game and the coaching staff was pleased with the overall effort.
"I like the way the kicked the ball," Petrino said. "They got the ball up high. It was easy on them today since we weren’t doing any directional punting, but the hang time was good. Our get off time was a little slow and we can improve on that. We did snap the ball well."
Arkansas returns to practice Friday with workouts for the newcomers starting at 3 p.m. and the veterans joining at 4 p.m. Practices remain open to the fans through August 21. Fans are encouraged to check ArkansasRazorbacks.com.