At the halfway point in the Razorbacks spring practice work, everything seems to be going to plan. The 164-play scrimmage last Friday seemed to please Coach Petrino after what was an up and down week of practice.
“I think we are on track,” Petrino said. “We had one day where we didn’t do things right on the practice field. Usually that starts with your focus and your concentration in the meeting room. We didn’t progress the way we needed to that day. I am sure you all know what day that was.”
That day was last Tuesday (practice #5), as the coaches spent much of the day verbally roasting everybody within earshot for their lack of effort. The display also included Petrino heaving a non-NCAA football up into the stands, and numerous player scuffles which were followed by wind sprints with the offending players being sent to the showers early.
You can almost set your watch by these ‘bad practices.’ They usually occur sometime during practices 3-6, both in the spring or fall. Players start to get a little sore and maybe feeling a little sorry for themselves. Position battles cause little flare-ups that draw the ire of coaches outwardly, while there must be a little part of them that likes to see that spirit.
These ‘bad days’ are always followed by days of progress where coaches tend to build them back up after tearing them down. All in all, it makes for an entertaining 2+ hours of ‘theatre’ every practice.
Here are a few things that have caught our attention:
- After the knee injury to starting guard Wade Grayson, redshirt freshman Alvin Bailey (6-5, 323) has more than stepped into that starting spot and performed extremely well. Bailey, who was set to challenge at one of the guard positions anyway, may be hard to unseat now. Wally Pipp anyone?
- While Ronnie Wingo, Jr. was awarded the starting tailback spot before spring practice began, it appears that there is little separation between him, Knile Davis and Broderick Green. In the two scrimmages to date, all three have posted similar numbers. And unless something drastically changes in the next few weeks, a running back by committee approach seems likely.
- With starting quarterback Ryan Mallett on the sidelines, the tight ends appear to be seeing a few more passes thrown in their direction. D.J. Williams (82 yards, 2 TDs), Chris Gragg (90 yards, TD) and Austin Tate (60 yards, TD) combined for 22 catches in Friday’s scrimmage.
- We’ll give the defense a few more days to work before rendering a final verdict, but Friday’s scrimmage was not good for the men in white. 164 plays equates to roughly two games of plays. The 947 yards and 14 TDs were great for the offense, but would average out to 473.5 yards and 49 points per game on defense. Yikes!
Petrino seems upbeat about the work the Hogs have put in thus far, but knows there is much to be gained over the next few weeks.
“We are pushing these guys hard. It’s time to step up the intensity and step up making sure we are doing things right and playing with great effort.”
The Hogs’ spring game is set for April 24th at 6 pm. The game follows RazorFest activities that, weather permitting, should make for a fun day in the Ozarks.