There were no major injuries. Tenarius Wright, Alonzo Highsmith, Matt Marshall and Eric Bennett did not practice. Knile Davis did not go through any contact. Linebacker A. J. Turner took himself out late in the scrimmage with a minor ankle sprain. It did not appear to be serious.
Linebackers were solid throughout. Otha Peters had an interception against Tyler Wilson and would have returned it for a touchdown but the whistle was blown and he let up about the 20-yard line. Dennis Johnson had an excellent day.
Among the offensive problems were protection against a variety of blitzes and line games up front. Tyler Wilson's numbers weren't great, but he did throw several touchdown passes over the top.
Wilson hit Brandon Mitchell with a 15-yard touchdown pass on the day's first possession. He erased third-and-12 with a 14-yard pass to Cobi Hamilton earlier in the drive.
After the twos went three-and-out with Brandon Allen at quarterback (with three straight incomplete passes), the twos went 70 yards in 12-plays to score on a 1-yard plunge by Jonathan Williams. Allen converted the only third down with a 11-yard scramble into open field.
That's when the defense stiffened. Wilson was incomplete off Hamilton's hands on third down to start that empty streak. Peters intercepted Wilson on the next possession. Then, he was incomplete on third-and-11 under pressure from Chris Smith.
The twos didn't score on three straight possessions with some passes deflected at the line of scrimmage. Nate Holmes finally ended that drought when he bounced outside for a 22-yard touchdown run. Allen had completions to Hamilton, Keante Minor and Keon Hatcher to highlight that march.
The ones returned at that point with Wilson coming up empty on third-and-4 with Darius Winston breaking up a pass with tight coverage on a curl. Wilson then led a 65-yard scoring march, hitting Chris Gragg for the final 12 yards.
The second defense stopped two of the next three possessions, then the threes -- with Brian Buehner keeping for 41 yards -- scored on a 55-yard drive.
After halftime, there was more balance. The offense won as many battles as the defense, but both sides had highlights.
Kaelon Kelleybrew intercepted Allen at the goal line and Kelvin Fisher had a third-down breakup. Chris Smith beat David Hurd for a third down sack for another defensive highlight.
Wilson found Hamilton for a 29-yard touchdown pass over Tevin Mitchel, a play after Mitchell broke up a curl pattern. Wilson also threw a 50-yard TD pass to Keante Minor and a 13-yard TD pass to Brandon Mitchell on the final play of the scrimmage.
Wilson was 21 of 39 for 288 yards with four TDs and one interception. Allen was 27 of 49 for 277 yards. He had one TD and one interception.
Mitchell led the receivers with nine catches for 74 yards with two TDs. Hamilton was next with 5-83 and one TD. Gragg had 5-54. Keante Minor and Keon Hatcher both had four catches.
Dennis Johnson led the rushers with 76 yards on 15 carries. Jonathan Williams was 13 for 37 with two TDs. Kody Walker had 11 for 17. Ronnie Wingo had 10 for 15. Nate Holes had five for 41 and one TD.
John L. Smith said he was "quite pleased with the defense." At the same time, he noted there were some glitches on offense as far as too many dropped passes and some protection errors.
Still, he thought it was a good day overall.
"It's always a positive when you play (like that) against each other," he said. "I liked the attitude of the defense. I liked the spirit and the enthusiasm. There was a lot of grinding both ways.
"We are still giving up too many big plays in the passing game. And the offense, when we wanted to at the end, ran it a little on us. We've got to get better with the second offense.
"I was quite pleased with the defense. We are going to be good on offense. We just need to keep coming on defense. I'm pleased with the attitude.
"We came out of it okay. We had a few bumps, but that's about it."
Tight end Chris Gragg said it was lack of consistency that plagued the offense.
"The defense did a lot of good things today, but the offense finished strong," he said. "The defense came out to play. They were a little more ready than the offense today. Usually, we are the ones who get after them in this type of situation. Today it was them getting after us. They brought it.
"After that first drive, the defense was stopping us and the twos pretty frequently. The defense was bringing a lot of blitzes and quite a few line games. They did it with the ones, twos and threes. We have to get a little better focus, We were kinda slow in the middle. At the end, we came up big and we were running it on them, too.
"We just have to be more consistent. We had a lot of dropped balls. I dropped one. We had more drops than at any time since spring. I'd say we just have to have a little better insight of when the blitzes are coming and adjust to it when they happen."
Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton said the defense showed a few "new things" and "had some scheme things ready for us today." He said there wasn't a quick adjustment made by the offense.
"It was lack of focus on the part of the offense," Hamilton said. "I'd say our focus on the drops was the main thing today. We aren't like that and it won't continue. I don't think that is something to worry about. What we saw today we'll get corrected and understand better. We have young guys out there sometimes and they needed to see those things."
John L. Smith said he isn't concerned about the drops, either.
"That will get cleaned up," he said. "That's more drops than we ever see. That's focus."
Smith praised running back Dennis Johnson. He also said Brandon Mitchell had another good day at wide receiver.
"Dennis ran hard," he said. "Brandon is a legitimate receiver. He's doing a great job. I like it. He's a threat, a big body. I like his attitude. He wants to help out his team."
But overall, this was a day about defensive improvement. Smith reminded of that after covering some of the good and not so offensive thoughts.
"This was really different," he said, noting solid defensive play up front and at linebacker against the run. "We aren't going to worry about the offense. I just think today will help the confidence of the defense. We need to be good on defense. That's the big concern if we are going to be a good team. I liked it."
It was the first of two practices on the day, the first of two-a-days. The afternoon workout is set for 4 p.m. and will feature a lot of kicking game work.
Kiero Small went both ways and had good hits for both sides. He said he had far more mental mistakes on defense. He did say Brandon Mitchell -- another nice day by the junior wide receiver/quarterback -- gave him grief one time when he switched sides to play offense.
"It was fun," Small said. "I got tired, but it was fun at the same time.
"I think I opened up my coverage the wrong way a few times. I know I made a lot more mental mistakes on defense than I did on offense."
He said he took some grief after delivering some hits on defense and then stepping back into the offensive huddle on the next series.
"Brandon Mitchell gave me some grief," Small said. "He said, 'Don't come back over here.' "
Small thought a good showing by the defense in the scrimmage is a good thing in the grand scheme.
"I think it is good," he said. "We know the offense can go. It's a testament that we have a good team when our defense plays like that.
"We have a lot of weapons on offense. Now you see that we have weapons on defense, too. The defense doesn't even have all of the starters out there right now. When Tank, Alonzo and Eric are back out there, both sides are going to have a lot of weapons."
Small said equipment manager Chuck Hall worked magic to get him from a red jersey to a white jersey as he changed sides of the ball seven or eight times during the scrimmage.
"That was a little tough, getting in and out of the jersey to change sides," he said. "It was tough the first two times. But after that, we got a system down.
"I raised my arms and Chuck (Hall, equipment manager) did most of the rest. I'd just have to pull it down a little to get it snug. We got to where we were getting it changed pretty fast."
The offense stepped up with a superb passing display in the afternoon as the Arkansas football team went twice for the first time in fall camp. The defense had some nice moments in the scrimmage earlier in the day.
In the pass skeleton portion of the practice -- around 20 minutes -- the offense had only one incompletion in almost 40 plays. Tyler Wilson's strike down the seam for Brandon Mitchell was deflected at the last moment by Alan Turner or it would have been a perfect 38 of 38. A lot of those completions were check downs by both Wilson and Brandon Allen. But both Wilson and Allen were sharp when they went down the field, too.
In the team portion where linemen are added and there's a mix of running plays, too, it was still a lethal passing display by the offense. There were only five incompletions in team, out of 32 tries. Cobi Hamilton worked over the deep middle with five catches, including two for touchdowns. He had two acrobatic catches in a jump ball with safeties. Austin Tate dropped one of those five on what would have likely been a touchdown.
There was a heavy focus on the kicking game in the afternoon practice, around 90 minutes long.
There was one minor scuffle between offensive tackle Brey Cook and true freshman end Brandon Lewis. They locked up and eventually went to the ground. Teammates pulled them a part in pretty quick fashion. Lewis got a visit from head coach John L. Smith, strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp and defensive captain Tenarius Wright as the practice continued.
There were no injuries in the afternoon workout. Linebacker A. J. Turner practiced with no problems. He left near the end of the morning scrimmage with a minor ankle injury. But he didn't miss any time in the afternoon.