It may sound strange because of all the turmoil surrounding the Arkansas football program, but they have had their two best practices of the spring this week.
That was the summation of Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes and defensive end coach Steve Caldwell after Wednesday's practice.
"On both sides of the ball the competition has been unbelievable," Haynes said. "We kind of let them go with the live periods to challenge them and we really did it at the beginning of practice. That was to get them locked in and to get them focus. The competition and the effort has been tremendous."
"…It was real challenging for our guys physically and mentally, but our guys again have done a great job this week with our effort and our attitude," Haynes added. "Those are the things we kind of challenged them with this week – come out, have a great attitude and great focus."
Haynes thinks this spring practice – which has just a Friday closed practice and the Saturday Red-White game – has been great for the team.
"We have been improving like crazy this spring," Haynes continued. "The young guys have been picking it all up – the terminology, (working both) the left and right and it really is not an issue for us anymore."
Haynes went as far as to say the Razorbacks are locked in.
"There is no doubt that once we are on the field, you start looking at what kind of effort they are giving, if they are making a bunch of mistakes and that hasn't happened," Haynes said. "Once we get out there, they are locked in and focused."
Caldwell concurred that the practices have been great this week.
"I think it is unbelievable," Caldwell said. "They have stayed focused. I know there are a lot of distractions out there that everybody is wondering what's next, who is going to be the next coach. But man, they know what it is all about. They come to work just like they have been taught and they are grinding every day and trying to make themselves better."
This Saturday's scrimmage format is still being discussed by the coaches.
"We have talked about it a little bit and we are going to talk about it in the next couple of days on kind of how we want to handle it," Haynes said. "But we will probably put the ones together against the rest of the guys."
Haynes did confirm that freshman linebacker Brock Haman was no longer with the program.
"Yes, he asked for his release and got it," Haynes said.
Haynes said the coaches and the players are looking forward to the Saturday scrimmage.
"We are looking forward to this Saturday with a big crowd and putting on a great show for them," Haynes said. "This will be the first time in Razorback Stadium to see what their new defense is going to be like."
Haynes is hoping he sees some of the same things this week that he did last Friday.
"I saw great effort and great fundamentals and great technique," Haynes said. "When those things happen, good things happen for guys like that. The good thing was that (last Friday), we got a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Anytime you can do that, there are lot of things you can do on the back end and be successful."
Wednesday Grid Update, 4-18
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