FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas football team continued August practices Thursday with a set of two-a-day drills at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and inside the Walker Pavilion. The preseason practices have seen an emphasis placed on advancing all units of the Razorback squad, but the day’s focus was around offensive training. Any team’s success can hinge on effective line play and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee explained that Arkansas is no different.
"Coach Klenakis does a good job with all of those guys," Coach McGee said. "They understand that they are the heart and soul of our offense. In this conference, you need a bunch of guys to go out there and play because it’s a grind. I think they are doing a good job of understanding how to play through the whistle."
In a set of practices that featured numerous rounds of head-to-head playmaking between UA’s offense and defense, Coach McGee noticed an improvement in the running backs unit.
"They are learning more about defensive structure," Coach McGee said. "They can understand where a soft spot in the defense is going to be, or understand why we shift in motion on certain plays to get the defense set."
Coach McGee sees the Razorbacks’ running backs as an essential group for overall success.
"They are talented, as well as really good friends," Coach McGee said. "They take pride in being a good group."
UA’s quarterbacks coach noted that Arkansas standout Ryan Mallett, a preseason first-team All-SEC pick, has been his typical self in fall camp, while still finding areas to further improve his game. Mallett tied or broke 16 school records in 2009, while leading the Southeastern Conference in touchdown passes (30), passing yards per game (278.8) and total offense (276.5).
"I think Ryan (Mallett) is doing a really good job," Coach McGee said. "Ryan is pushing. I know he is hungry. Mentally, he is really into it."
Coach McGee sees the team stepping up its physical and mental toughness in the coming weeks to begin the 2010 season, which kicks off Sept. 4 at home vs. Tennessee Tech at 6 p.m. Coach McGee wants the playmakers in the Arkansas offense to be prepared for the entire contest.
"You may have to go into extreme situations and pull it out late in the game," Coach McGee said. "Everybody in this conference is good. At the end of the day, it comes down to who is tough enough to pull it out in the fourth quarter."
The Razorbacks continue fall practices tomorrow with drills beginning at 9 a.m. Arkansas fans are invited to attend practices through August 21 (excluding August 19). For more information regarding UA football, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.