The Hogs worked in the stadium with helmets and no pads. They will practice Wednesday and Thursday before taking one week off for spring break.
"We had a good first day," Petrino said. "We did a lot of things real well. Our experience shows up. We have a fast team and they played fast today. That's a case of the experience standing out. We have a lot of players who understand what we are doing and that makes you play fast.
"We'll have to watch the video to know what happened up front between the offensive and defensive fronts, but I did like what I saw from Tyler and Brandon."
Petrino said redshirt freshman quarterback Jacoby Walker struggled with his passing. He said the wobbly and errant throws were the result of a lack of confidence and an over striding problem that will be corrected.
Senior captain Jake Bequette missed the workout to attend his grandfather's funeral. UA letterman George Bequette, father of former stars Jay and Chris Bequette, passed away Friday in his home in St. Louis. He had been ill for the last two years.
"We lost a member of the Razorback family," Petrino said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bequette family."
Wilson and Mitchell both appeared confident and sharp in their passing. Almost all of their passes hit hands and were spinning sharply. Few hit the ground throughout the day. They are trying to replace two-year starter Ryan Mallett and both appeared highly competent. Mitchell hit two long bombs in team drills, to Marquel Wade and Javontee Herndon.
"I thought they both did play with a lot of confidence," Petrino said. "They were demanding and led in the huddle. I liked how they operated the cadence with their voice. I thought their decision making was good. Brandon did hit a couple of nice deep balls."
Mitchell said he had missed two deep throws in pass skeleton earlier in the day and that prompted some coaching tips on technique in regards to the deep ball from Petrino.
"Coach Petrino showed me a change in my footwork and technique and told me to put more air under the ball," Mitchell said. "I did that on those two and the wide receivers ran under them perfectly. I'm trying to do what the coaches show me and get better. You can always get better. That's what I'm trying to do, learn on every play and take that to the next day and add to it."
Wilson was happy with the way the Hogs practiced to open the spring. He was vibrant and up beat afterwards.
"It was definitely a positive first day," Wilson said. "I think there was a lot of good everywhere you looked. Obviously, it wasn't perfect. It never is and we'll see what we can correct in the video. But we have a lot of weapons out there. We have a lot of skill at running back and wide receiver. All of those guys caught it extremely well.
"We worked hard in our throwing game this winter. I could see that we had carry over from that. The routes were crisp. Things went well today."
Wilson worked with the first team last spring with Mallett sidelined by injury. So this was a similar situation Tuesday, right?
"No, this was definitely a different atmosphere for me," Wilson said. "You are right, I knew I was going to get reps with the ones last spring, but today this is much more important. I understand the difference between the two springs. I'm trying to fill a leadership role this spring.
"At the same time, you go out there trying to get better. That's the goal every day.
"I think what you saw, though, was an older team, a group with a lot of veterans. I have been leading the throwing workouts this winter (without coaches), but it's easy with this much experience. We've definitely got some leaders in that receiver group. Guys like Jarius Wright and Greg Childs make it easy to lead because they are going to have the receivers doing their job. We have a large, large number of leaders in this team."
Wright said, "Things went real well today. Everybody wanted to be out there on the field and it was good. We've got good quarterbacks. We lost Mallett, but we have guys ready to step in. I think what you saw is that if one goes down, another is capable of leading the team.
"It would be like what happened when Mallett went down at Auburn. Tyler stepped in. We have two now who can play for the other and we know we are going to be fine. We worked 20 to 30 minutes a day on our throwing this winter and we already knew these guys could both throw it."
The practice ended on an extensive drill aimed at teaching the scoop and score on blocked punts, or fumbles. Most of the team practiced the drill. It covered getting off the line of scrimmage with a rip move, picking up a towel, then a few steps later scooping a loose, rolling ball.
"I wanted to make sure we worked on our technique," Petrino said.
There didn't appear to be any injuries. Greg Childs and Daunte Carr did some early drills, then both worked on the side with knee braces. Colby Berna, Byran Jones and DeQuinta Jones wore yellow jerseys and did not do any of the heavy work.
It was clear that offensive tackles Brey Cook and Jason Peacock, both newcomers, are extremely athletic. Both worked at the weakside tackle spot. Senior Grant Freeman and sophomoreAnthony Oden were on the strong side tackle slot.
Petrino said Oden, out last fall with mono, has grown in maturity. He said there was an instance where a linebacker "popped him in the face" to end a play. He said in the past that would have meant a fight. He said Oden laughed about it and went back to the huddle. He said Oden has been focused in everything he's done this semester, including solid work in the class room.
Petrino reserved some comment on the offensive line until after viewing tape, but said he did watch Cook, a true freshman enrollee.
"I watched him a few times," Petrino said. "He's got to move quicker on some plays. He was late some, but he'll get better."
Petrino was asked about the move of Eric Bennett from cornerback to strong safety.
"He looked good," Petrino said. "He helps us with our speed there. He can tackle and cover. That's what we had when we moved Rudell Crim there and we wanted to replace that, someone who could do both, cover and tackle."
Tyler Wilson thought the Hogs showed their experience in the first workout.
Brandon Mitchell warms up Tuesday.
The running backs stretch to open the day.
Knile Davis loosens up in the team stretch.
Freshman tackle Brey Cook begins his first day of practice for the Hogs.
Jarrett Lake (39) goes through a workout with linebackers coach Reggie Johnson.
Photos by Marc F. Henning, Hawgs Illustrated