FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas got an early start on spring practice, literally, on Tuesday as the Razorbacks hit the practice field at 5:20 a.m. inside the Walker Pavilion. The Hogs worked in shorts and helmets for just more than two hours in the first of 15 spring practices.
“Our guys came with a great attitude and showed a lot of enthusiasm,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “I was proud of our first third (down) and eight (yards) and our first blitz package. I thought Casey Dick, Marcus Monk, London Crawford (stood out). There was some execution and good protection. Jonathan Luigs, Nate Garner and Robert Felton had a really good day. “Defensively, Marcus Harrison, Weston Dacus, Wendel Davis, Matterral Richardson really stood out. They came with a smile on their face as early as it was. This was a good first practice.”
Improving efficiency in the passing game is one of the primary goals of the spring for the Razorbacks. New offensive coordinator David Lee had stated previously that he wanted to jump right into the new material and on Tuesday the Razorbacks did just that.
“We got to see some new schemes and things in the passing game and see how well they adapted,” Nutt said. “That was the most exciting part. We had excellent protection for the first day and Casey Dick and Nathan Emert did a good job getting rid of the football. That was the most exciting thing to handle some blitzes and complete some balls. I expected maybe one would be caught out of 12 plays. So I thought it was outstanding.”
A pair of Razorback defensive starters from a season ago returned to the practice field after recovering from injuries suffered last fall. Sophomore Freddie Fairchild played in only two games last season after tearing his ACL in the Utah State game. Senior Michael Grant was the Hogs’ starter at free safety before suffering a season-ending ACL injury against South Carolina. Both Fairchild and Grant practiced on Tuesday and appeared to be near full speed.
Arkansas will hit the practice field again on Wednesday morning at 5 a.m. Following Wednesday’s workout, Arkansas will take a hiatus until after spring break with practice tentatively set to resume on March 26. The Razorbacks will conclude spring practice on April 14 with fan day activities, RazorFest and the annual Red-White spring game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.