Razorbacks Stage 82-Play Scrimmage in Donald W
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Better than expected weather had Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt calling an audible on Saturday as the Razorbacks scrimmaged outside in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Forecasts for cold temperatures and possible precipitation had the Hogs ready to work inside the Walker Pavilion, but the sun was shining on Saturday morning allowing an 80+ play game-like scrimmage.
“There were some good things, but there are a lot of things we have to get better at,” Nutt said. “I love our enthusiasm and our effort. Our defense, for a while, really chased the ball extremely well. Then we had some missed assignments and let a couple of runs get out. There were some awfully good hits exchanged today.”
Nutt also had praise for the Razorback offense on Saturday.
“I still think the improvement of pass protection (was the most encouraging part of the scrimmage),” Nutt said. “It still isn’t where we want it, but it is getting better. I think Ryan (Sorahan) and Matt (Jones) are a good combination for us. I think mixing them up and trying to get our best on the field is the key. We tried to get the ball to George Wilson and DeCori Birmingham. Then we have De’Arrius (Howard) and Cedric (Cobbs) hitting the holes well.”
The Razorbacks showed offensive proficiency both through the air and on the ground. Sophomore De’Arrius Howard rushed for 74 yards on only six carries including a scrimmage-long 50-yard touchdown run. Senior Cedric Cobbs earned 44 yards on nine carries including a four-yard touchdown run to open the scoring.
Junior Matt Jones and senior Ryan Sorahan shared the early snaps at quarterback. Jones connected on seven of 11 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. Sorahan completed six of 15 tosses for 55 yards including a 20-yard touchdown toss to Jones. Jones snared two passes for 29 yards and a score on the day.
“I hope that we can continue to execute with both of them,” Nutt said. “We are going to need both of them. I know that. I love Matt playing both positions. I think he is a dangerous weapon out there.”
Senior George Wilson led all Razorback wide receivers with three catches for 50 yards. Junior DeCori Birmingham and sophomores Carlos Ousley and Jared Hicks each had three receptions and a touchdown catch.
Senior inside linebacker Caleb Miller was all over the field on Saturday picking up a team-leading 10 tackles and a sack. Jimarr Gallon and senior linebacker Brandon Holmes tallied five tackles apiece. Junior Jeb Huckeba had only two tackles, officially, but caught the eye of his head coach.
“I love the way Jeb Huckeba chases the ball,” Nutt said. “That is a new position for him. It isn’t easy to see you change positions and go from linebacker to defensive end. We are trying to find a free safety. We will have to go back and look at the film, but it looked like Jimarr Gallon and Vickiel Vaughn made some plays at free safety.”
Arkansas did come away with some bumps and bruises from Saturday’s scrimmage. Sophomore tailback Dedrick Poole, redshirt freshman cornerback Michael Coe and senior strong safety Bo Mosley suffered sprained shoulders.
Sophomore tight end Jared Hicks has a bruised hand. Sophomore linebacker Michael Robinson suffered a slight concussion while sophomore Vickiel Vaughn has a hip pointer.
The Hogs will take Sunday off before returning to the practice field on Monday. Arkansas will conclude spring practice with the red vs. white spring scrimmage next Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The spring game will begin at Noon.
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