FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After a day off, the Razorback football team returned to the Walker Pavilion for a two-hour practice Tuesday. Arkansas participated in its first scrimmage of the spring during Sunday’s practice session and was returning to the field for its first workout since, but head coach Bobby Petrino didn’t think the Razorbacks were as sharp as they needed to be.
“We found out today that we have a lot to learn,” Petrino said. “We have to be able to come off a good, hard four days of practice, have a day off and then come back and learn how to work at the same tempo and have the same physical practice that we want.”
Petrino did find some positive during the practice as he thought the linebackers were continuing to get better. He said he was glad to see the unit playing more physical than it did during Sunday’s scrimmage.
The coaching staff continues to add to the offensive and defensive playbooks. As expected when implementing new plays, there is an adjustment and learning curve for the players.
“We put more (plays) in,” Petrino said. “Anytime you put more in, you make more assignment errors and we had some of that today, but for the most part I think our offensive (players) are starting to come together. We have to continue to work on the timing of our passing game.
“We’re really trying to emphasis, with our secondary, playing the ball in the air so we did get a couple of picks today, a couple of batted balls and that’s good. We have to keep our vision to play the ball in the air.”
Petrino is also seeing improvement in the connection between the quarterbacks and the group of wide receivers. The areas of technique and timing will be important for the success of the Razorback passing game and Petrino thinks the players are starting to understand their responsibilities.
“Our timing is better,” Petrino said. “Our quarterbacks, I think, really understand how we want their footwork to be—to get their back leg under their back hip. I think we made a lot of improvement moving up in the pocket helping the offensive line and the receivers are starting to be where they need to be on time.”
For the third time in five scheduled practices, inclement weather forced the Razorbacks indoors for practice. Petrino said the team would prefer to be on the outdoor fields, particularly in the grass, and was scheduled for an outdoor practice Tuesday but the rain earlier in the day changed that plan.
“We would rather be outside, there’s no question about it,” Petrino said. “I think if you had the years of playing in this offense, we probably would have forced the issue and went outside. We’re trying to work hard on our timing so our quarterbacks understand where our receivers are going to be and sometimes the wind is as big as the wetness.”
Wide receiver Crosby Tuck sat out of practice with an injured quad. Petrino said Tuck felt a pull in the muscle before Sunday’s scrimmage and tried to go today but wasn’t able. Chip Gregory returned to practice after missing the scrimmage, but Petrino thinks the running back will need some time to fully heal his ankle.
“No, he’s not (at full strength) and I’m afraid it’s going to be a little while,” Petrino said. “On the video, it looked like a high ankle sprain. He’s not able to get any push off yet, so we’ll just have to wait and see how much work we can get him.”
Arkansas will return to practice Thursday. It will be open to the public unless the workout is moved indoors. Log on to www.hogwired.com for an up-to-date schedule of Razorback spring football.