That was fine with junior college transfer Robert Atiga, getting a battlefield promotion behind Jerry Franklin at middle linebacker despite missing summer conditioning workouts to gain his eligibility. He had never seen a true lightning storm and was glad to exit Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
"That's a first for me," Atiga said. "I was glad to get out of that and into this building. I was scared for a little bit, but it was fine once we got inside."
It wasn't exactly fine with Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. He didn't seem to like the intensity or focus one the Hogs stepped into Walker. After a few minutes and perhaps several mistakes, he lined his team up for "some conditioning" with runs from sideline to sideline. The intensity and execution picked up after that.
"Conditioning, that's all it was," said John L. Smith, the coach available after the workout. "That's what we called that."
How have practices gone through seven days of fall camp?
"I think there have been some ups and some downs," said Smith, who coordinates the special teams and coaches outside linebackers. "I think we've used the down days to get better the next day. I'm sure Coach Petrino isn't happy with everything, because he never is. But I think he's seen a lot of good things and I think we are improving."
The Hogs did mostly special teams work in the early portion before the storm forced them into the Broyles Center. That was the plan as the team prepares for its first major scrimmage of fall camp, set for 6 p.m. Thursday. The Hogs were supposed to work on the intramural fields Wednesday, but morning rain storms made it too damp there. The evening practice was pushed back 30 minutes because of more storms. Eventually, they returned and caused the first break.
"It was actually something we could use," Smith said. "We had a storm suspend a game last year (against Ole Miss). So you take that and use it to talk to them about focus, about how to stretch and stay loose and use it for the future. It's something you get a chance to talk about and it might come up in the season. So this might get us ready for something."
It's not something Atiga had ever seen. He hails from Utah.
"We don't have these (storms) out there," he said. "It was interesting."
Atiga has seen a lot in his first week in Arkansas. He made it to campus two days before the start of practice. He played weakside linebacker at Snow College. But he made a quick move to middle linebacker. And he was moved from the newcomers workouts to the varsity and found himself on the second team behind Franklin.
"I trained this summer and I thought I did a lot, but I wasn't prepared for what we do here," he said. "I didn't do enough. So I'm behind in the running and the lifting and I'm behind in the playbook. But I'll get there. It's not something I can't do.
"Playing mike is different, too, but I'll get it. Everyone is helping me. Jerry Franklin helps me. Alonzo Highsmith (at weakside linebacker) is a junior college transfer, too, and he's learning. We help each other and we also go to Jerry when we need it."
Atiga looks forward to the scrimmage.
"If you are a linebacker, you want to tackle," he said. "We get to do that tomorrow night. I know there are things I'm still learning, but what I'm going to focus on in the scrimmage is flying around and getting to the ball. That's my goal tomorrow."
The offense made some plays Wednesday. Two of the highlights were deep passes Tyler WIlson hit down the sideline. He found Greg Childs in perfect stride behind Isaac Madison for a 50-yard strike. Then, just a few plays later, Wilson hit Marquel Wade in perfect stride just a step beyond Darius Winston. Coverage wasn't far off, but the timing with the quarterback and receivers were outstanding. Wilson also did well in his underneath routes as the timing seemed to improve with the Hogs on the same artificial surface they practiced on all summer in 7-on-7 workouts.
Safety Darrell Smith returned to practice. Still missing were offensive guard Grant Cook and defensive end Lonnnie Gosha, both believed rehabbing ankle injuries. Defensive tackle Lavunce Askew was also missing from practice.