September 22, 2017

Making Some Noise

I got a chance to attend my first football practice of the season on Wednesday and it was an eye-opener.  I’ll try to describe it here but, if you get the chance, you really should go see it in person.

I knew it was going to be a lively practice when, shortly into the receiver drills, Paul Petrino yelled some expletives about the players not making enough noise.  That set the tone for a good practice with much energy from the players and coaches.

There was a lot of teaching and correcting during the drills, and many times you could hear it in the stands as clear as if you were right alongside the players.  Bobby Petrino moved from station to station and chimed in often to point out mistakes or talk one-on-one with a player.

Carlton Salters (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)The players who stood out to me were:  Ronnie Wingo Jr., Michael Smith, Chris Gragg, Carlton Salters, David Gordon, Jerell Norton and Jerry Franklin.

In 7-on-7 drills, the quarterbacks rotated in and out with the emphasis on pass coverage, routes and making good decisions throwing to what many times was a double covered receiver.  The formations were mostly three to four receiver sets with a tight end or running back added in to the mix.  But it was almost always seven defenders to four receivers.

Unlike seasons past, there should not be a worry at the QB position with Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson.  And both Jim Youngblood and Brandon Mitchell (and even Nick Petrino) looked like they could not only run the offense, but will be prepared to do so if needed.

As a defender, Broderick Green is a freight train that I wouldn’t want to see coming downhill towards me.  He is not at all shifty like Michael Smith, Ronnie Wingo or Knile Davis.  As advertised, Green is a big bruising back that will wear down the opponents on the Hogs schedule.  And watching him in practice just confirmed that fact for me.

The punting work alternated between Briton Forester and Dillon Breeding.  The punt returner rotation was Jerell Norton, Joe Adams, Cobi Hamilton and Michael Smith.  There were some high snaps and a few line drives but, overall, the kick coverage looked good.  It would be hard to pick between Forester or Breeding right now, as they both looked up to the job of starting punter.

The practice finished up on a sour note with Chris Gragg going down with an ankle injury towards the end.  We wish him good luck and a speedy recovery.

Let me finish by saying that defensive back David Gordon, while just a freshman, looked very impressive in the secondary running against the first team offense.  He has all the tools to be great.  He continually made plays on the ball, and had several breakups or near interceptions.

That’s it for now.  Hope to see you out at the practice fields.

  • Carolina Hog

    Thanks guys. You guys along with some of the other blogs have made it where I haven’t even missed Wholehog. Arkansas fans need to enjoy the moment. This may be the best coach we’ve ever had in any sport other than track.

  • Nice Recap! Thanks

  • New Hog

    How do you think the Running Backs will be played, what type of offense?

  • New, Petrino self-describes his offense as a “Power Spread”. 3-4 WR on most plays. His formations and personnel packages can best be described as “multiple”.

    Along those lines, we have spotted a new, unique offensive formation in practice this week that we have not seen Petrino employ before. For those of you that have attended practice…have you noticed it?

    • Jeremy

      Have you seen any option formations? I once heard Petrino runs a “Power Spread Option” offense, but wasn’t able to install it last year.

      • No obvious signs of the option during practice but I wouldn’t put it past Coach Petrino to sprinkle it in. He’s certainly a believer in running multiple formations.

        We have seen the quarterbacks working at times on making an option pitch during drills.

  • Soupdhog

    With all of our running backs, any indication of running a “Wildhog” type formation?

  • Hawgfan100

    That sort of a package could be devastating with Brandon Mitchell taking the snap. Any who have seen him in practice think he’d be able to handle it yet?

  • Carolina Hog

    I think a sound, balanced offense is devastating and it seems that most teams that mess with the Wildcat lack balance. Its a little gimmicky and I suspect it will be a non-factor within 3 years. I’d be surprised if we went to it.

  • Carolina Hog

    I am curious as to what those who have been to practice think of Joe Adams. Going into camp, I thought he’d probably be our strongest WR this year and now him seems to be lost deep in the shuffle. I do think that Joe proved to be a gamer last year. We didn’t hear as much about him as Wright in camp, but he rose to the top once games began.

    • Carolina, I think Joe is still a starter…still one of the most talented WR we have. But according to several who have been charting drops, he is among the leaders in this category so far this fall camp.

      I agree with you though…he’s a gamer, and will be fine come Sept. 5.

  • Hawgfan100

    “…it seems that most teams that mess with the Wildcat lack balance.”

    It may seem that way but I think a balanced offense can run the Wildcat effectively, especially if they have the personnel. And we have the personnel.

    If surprise is desired and to be achieved in competition then imagine this scenario: Arkansas comes to the line. Brandon Mitchell at QB (could very well be Youngblood). Joe Adams split wide. Defense sets up. Suddenly Adams goes in motion, reaching Mitchell just as he takes the snap. Wildcat! And really no solid indication of this until Adams comes inside the line on his motion. Surprise!

    Another nice wrinkle with our current personnel: unlike the Wildcat with DMac and Jones, both Mitchell and Adams can throw.

    The Wildcat will be used as long as it’s effective. Our version of the Wildcat will still be effective because of the many things we can do off it (i.e. DMac never passed as much as he should have out of the Wildcat, IMO), plus a better ability to disguise the formation. Also, why should I give my opponent less to be concerned about on defense? ;^)

  • hogsooie

    if we run the wildcat i will throw up. that gimmicky crap needs to go away. and i don’t see the current staff using an offense that was “created” by the previous staff. the wildcat was great until defenses were catching onto it. and if you can’t run it successfully with DMAC and Felix, then you can’t with anyone else. i like the offense we have now and HOPE we dont use that junk.