FAYETTEVILLE – The wet weather outside did little to hinder the Arkansas football team offense in the early going as it scored on consecutive drives in the team’s first scrimmage of the 2008 season at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Sunday morning.
The Hogs stretched indoors then came outside for a quick 20 minutes worth of drills before embarking on a more than two hour scrimmage that included just one quick break in the action.
“I thought we came out fast on offense and made some plays,” Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. “I didn’t really like the way the defense started out, then after halftime it kind of flipped. The defense started running around and doing things right.”
The Arkansas offense started out quickly with junior running back Michael Smith breaking a pair of long runs which led to the opening drive scores. On the day, Smith ran just five times but gained 140 yards for an average of 27.6 yards per carry including a 68 yard scamper and a 49 yard touchdown.
“Michael Smith has the speed to go the distance,” Petrino said. “I think he’s playing at a faster speed than he did all spring.”
The Razorback offensive line was dominating opening large holes and giving each of the Arkansas quarterbacks plenty of time to throw the ball.
“Well, I thought that they started out pretty good,” Petrino said. “The offensive line is starting to play well together and is getting a good understanding of what we want to do. We need to rush the passer better. We showed some fatigue and showed some lack of toughness at times, but we did show the ability to rush the passer. It’s always harder on the defensive line when you aren’t hitting the quarterback because there are some times that you think that you would have had a sack and he still throws the ball.”
Also showing life on offense was senior quarterback Casey Dick who completed 21 of 36 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns including one of 51 yards. Dick and the rest of the Razorbacks quarterbacks combined for five passing touchdowns on the day.
Arkansas’ quarterbacks had plenty of targets to hit on Sunday as 15 players caught passes. Carlton Salters nabbed three including Dick’s 51-yard touchdown throw. London Crawford and Ben Cleveland led the team with five catches each.
For as good as the Razorback offense was early on, the Arkansas defense stepped up in the second half of the scrimmage and started to produce bone crunching hits. The play of the defensive line and that of junior defensive end Adrian Davis was key to the defensive rally.
The wet weather on Sunday morning threatened to move the Razorbacks indoors, but Petrino and his staff were hoping that they would catch a break in the storm clouds that loomed throughout the morning. As the scrimmage began there was a light drizzle which started and stopped numerous times throughout the affair, but at no point ever warranted a stoppage of play.
“Yea, I did give some thought to going inside,” Petrino said. “I really wanted to go outside, they told me that it would quit raining in a little while so we warmed up inside and then came out for the scrimmage.”
The Razorbacks get back to work for practice with another two-a-day session on Monday with the first practice schedule for 9 a.m. and the second at 4 p.m. For more information regarding Razorback football or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.