FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas finished spring practice in less than spring-like conditions on Saturday night with the red squad topping the white squad 44-9 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The Hogs scrimmage for just under an hour despite temperatures dipping into the 30s.
Many of Arkansas’ starters played sparingly, including a large list of projected defensive starters that didn’t see any action at all due to injuries. Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt used the final workout of the spring to take a look down the depth chart.
“We used tonight as an opportunity to look at some of our younger guys,” Nutt said. “One of the things you are looking for is some depth at key positions. We had too many injuries this spring. That was one of the best things about tonight is we didn’t add to that list. I was pleased with the effort tonight. It wasn’t ideal conditions, but they competed.”
Junior tailbacks Darren McFadden and Felix Jones spent most of Saturday night on the sideline with the exception of a few late plays in the “Wildcat” package. In their absence, sophomore Michael Smith took advantage of an opportunity to shine. Smith rushed four times for 30 yards including a 23-yard touchdown run early in the game. He also tallied two receptions for 35 yards including a 20-yard touchdown catch from junior quarterback Nathan Emert.
“Michael is a talented back that will definitely have a role in our offense,” Nutt said. “You saw his versatility tonight with his ability to run the ball as well as catch it out of the backfield. We are extremely fortunate to have such talented running backs. We are going to need all of them.”
Junior quarterback Casey Dick turned in a solid performance on Saturday completing eight-of-14 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. He connected with fullback Peyton Hillis for a 12-yard touchdown play and later hit tight end Ben Cleveland with a 20-yard scoring toss.
Emert also racked up two touchdown passes in extensive action under center. He completed seven-of-17 attempts for 80 yards and two touchdowns. London Crawford made an acrobatic touchdown catch from five yards out. Emert earned his second touchdown toss on a 20-yard pass to Smith.
Hillis led all Razorback receivers with four catches for 38 yards and a touchdown. Cleveland garnered 52 yards and a touchdown on two receptions.
Senior fullback Farod Jackson scored the other touchdown of the day on an 11-yard run. Jeremy Davis added three field goals and Joe Hall and Brian Vavra contributed one field goal apiece to complete the scoring.
Junior linebacker Desmond Williams led the Hogs with five tackles including one sack. Sophomore defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard was impressive in his short stint on the field earning three tackles, including two tackles for loss (-15) and one sack (-7). Senior cornerback Matterral Richardson snagged the only interception of the day to halt a white team’s offensive drive. Richardson returned the pick 17 yards.
“We had a good spring,” Nutt said. “We still have a ways to go, but we made some progress. Our guys need to have a good off-season. I think they will. We have some good leadership and they have shown that commitment. I’m excited about the potential of this team and can’t wait to get back out there in August.”
Download: 2007 spring game stat file.pdf