Defensive coordinator Paul Haynes said Wright and Highsmith would both be back soon. Wright sustained a concussion Monday night. Highsmith has been out for three days with a hamstring injury.
Tyler Wilson and Brandon Allen both sparkled at quarterback. There were plenty of stars at wide receiver, including true freshman Mekale McKay with a pair of touchdown catches that displayed his wonderful 6-5 frame.
Brandon Mitchell, working only at wide receiver, also had a touchdown catch among his four receptions. There was one drop mixed in, but he proved to be an effective target for Wilson.
The first offense had to settle for a 42-yard Zack Hocker field goal to open the scrimmage, but then scored on the rest of its three possessions on the scrimmage. The second group also had to settle for two field goals, but scored four touchdowns. The third offense rolled to a touchdown with Taylor Reed finding Demetrius Dean for a 16-yard TD play to end the night.
There were no apparent injuries and no heat-related problems despite another scorching day in the Ozarks. Knile Davis did not take any snaps in the scrimmage.
Among the highlights as far as statistics, Tyler Wilson completed 15 of 19 for 224 yards with three touchdowns.
Out of the wideouts, Cobi Hamilton had five catches for 96 yards with one TD. Others: Mitchell 4 catches, 58 yards, TD; McKay 4 catches, 61 yards, 2 TD; Gragg 2 catches, 37 yards, TD. The running back stats weren't so stellar: Dennis Johnson 5 carries, 4 yards; Ronnie Wingo 4 carries, 28 yards; Jonathan Williams 8 carries, 39 yards, TD.
Haynes joined four defensive players in the interview room afterwards. He said he expected to see "a lot of good" when he watched the video, but also expected to see "mental mistakes" from young players.
"We stress not giving up big plays," he said. "I think we had some mental mistakes. We do have a lot of time and we'll get it fixed."
Haynes noted the defense had its hands full trying to stop Allen along with wide reciver Cobi Hamilton and tight end Chris Gragg.
"It's awesome to go against this offense," Haynes said. "We have the best quarterback, the best wide receiver and the best tight end in the country. Our guys go against them daily and we will get better."
If there was something to note on the defensive side, Haynes said it was the ability to stop the run.
"I won't know until I see the video, but from my bird's eye view that looked pretty good," Haynes said.
Haynes also praised the work of several young players. True freshman Otha Peters worked with the first team at inside linebacker along with senior Terrell Williams. Redshirt freshman Rohan Gaines took the first team snaps at safety. True freshman A.J. Turner got plenty of snaps with the second team at inside linebacker.
"Gaines did a good job at safety," Haynes said. "Safety is open for us. Right now he's pulling away.
"Otha has playmaking ability. He and A.J. flash on film. So does Defonta Lowe. Those three freshmen along with Will Hines (at cornerback) all flash."
Haynes was asked if Turner is big enough to play inside linebacker at 216.
"I think so," Haynes said. "He makes plays. He has all the tools. His heart is big and maybe his size isn't. He will make plays."
Haynes emphasized that youth will be served this fall camp as the Hogs look for depth and try to find the most talented players.
"We are going to keep getting the young guys reps," Haynes said. "We are going to get better and keep knocking them in there. We are going to grind it out. They are talented."
Haynes said he's not worried that Wright and Highsmith are both out and noted afterwards they'll be back soon.
"They know exactly what we are doing," he said. "They are getting the mental reps in the film room."
Haynes also praised cornerback Darius Winston.
"I haven't been here long, but from what I've seen in the past, this is the best he's looked," Haynes said. "It started in the offseason (after the bowl). His offseason was off the roof. I told him the scouts were going to come in here and see his numbers and drool."
The goal is for Winston to improve his physical ability as far as tackling.
"He's accepted the challenge," Haynes said. "That's what we are going to be staying on him about."
Haynes said with decent depth at cornerback and the improvement of Kaelon Kelleybrew, that gave Kelvin Fisher a chance to move to safety. He was involved in the scrimmage despite limited snaps in practice the last two days with the new position.
"With Kellybrew stepping up, we knew we needed help at safety," Haynes said. "Ross Rasner will be at safety about 30 percent of the time since we see nickel about 70 percent in the season. So safety is where we are short.
"We looked at Fisher at corner, but we need depth at safety. He's not the biggest, but we can live with his weight. He can get in the weight room and get bigger."
The obvious break-out player Tuesday night was McKay, the dual sport star from Louisville, Ky. He'll play basketball for the Hogs, too. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino noted Monday night that McKay had made a move with his physical presence once the team added full pads. He said his ability to get off the line against press coverage was impressive.
McKay hauled in a 10-yard touchdown pass over Kellybrew on the night's third possession, a soft lob from Brandon Allen. He worked free down the middle for a 32-yard strike from Allen on the next possession. Both of those were against the second defense.
"He's an athlete and he's cool," Gaines said. "I've seen him play basketball. He's a nice target."
Cornerback Tevin Mitchel said, "He's a basketball player and he's going to be a pretty good receiver, too. I enjoyed watching him go up. He can extend his arms and go get the ball."