Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema was pleased with the physical aspects of Wednesday's two practices, but not some of the mental lapses, forcing one "do over" in a 10-play set of third downs early in the night practice under lights that included some kicking game elements.
The placekicker dual between senior John Henson and true freshman Cole Hedlund is not over, but Bielema said the veteran has a slight advantage.
"It's going to continue for awhile," Bielema said. "You saw tonight, they both made everything until I pushed them back and then just Henson hit that one. He's been doing that. He has a little edge, but I like what Cole is doing, too."
Bielema was disappointed with one break, a fight in the two-minute drill when receiver Drew Morgan and cornerback Carroll Washington locked up.
"A fight in the two-minute drill is unacceptable," he said. "I don't think either one of them is going to get a personal foul in a game. It could cost us the game. The thing about (a fight) in a two-minute drill in practice is that it's disruptive. We can't get what we wanted done and that's the point of a two-minute drill.
"I like what both of them are doing. Carroll is playing at such a high level and so is Drew. I didn't like that, though."
Bielema confirmed that linebacker Otha Peters has left the team and is exploring transfer options, unhappy with his place on the depth chart. He did agree to a one-practice trial at fullback before going home. Bielema said Peters would likely transfer "someplace close to home." Peters is from Covington, La.
There was also confirmation of a few injuries, perhaps the most serious a knee sprain to starting defensive end Deatrich Wise. Bielema said the recovery time from an injury sustained in Saturday's scrimmage was "10 days." He said Wise will probably return to practice "Auburn week, or it could be the next week." Bielema said he'd be surprised if Wise missed the opener.
Tight end AJ Derby will probably miss the rest of this week and perhaps Saturday's upcoming open scrimmage with a knee bruise.
Safety Alan Turner sat out the evening practice because of a scratch to the eye that was self inflicted because of an infection. Bielema said he'd return soon, but doctors wanted it to stay dry and that means "no sweating."
Linebacker Randy Ramsey has a slight oblique muscle tear, but should be cleared by the weekend scrimmage if not by Friday, according to Bielema. The head coach said Ramsey thought he could practice, but trainers advised caution.
Bielema revealed that Fayetteville redshirt freshman Alex Brignoni will take a medical hardship and work as a special teams student assistant. Brignoni has had two surgeries for a hip injury and cannot continue with football.
Jeremy Ward is still out with a back injury after a surgery, but Bielema said it may be awhile before he knows his future in football.
Bielema said he's happy with the "physical aspects" of the first two weeks of camp, but wants better mental repetitions. He worked over his team with some strong language during a couple of periods.
"I apologize for that, but I wanted to get my point across on the mental aspects," he said. "We are so much better physically, but we can't put limits on ourselves with mental mistakes.
"We were going to do two sets of third-down plays, 10 plays," he said. "We had three busts in the first eight plays and so we started over. We did them correctly after that. But we can't wait until halftime to get it right."
Bielema praised quarterback Brandon Allen for polish and poise. He said his growth in the passing game both with sharpness and arm strength is noticeable. He said there was one time on the goal line that he tried to "gun it in" in the morning workout and that was corrected.
"You see what he can do, thrown the comeback across the field, with confidence and he knows that Keon Hatcher is going to make that play," Bielema said. "He's making plays down the field both with Keon and Morgan. He knows those guys are going to go get it."
Bielema praised both Washington and Tevin Mitchel, the two starting cornerbacks. He said they are having an interesting duel to see who is the team's best corner.
"Tevin wants to be the best and he's competing with Carroll for that," Bielema said. "Carroll was light when he came here and he was learning our system. He can do it all now. He's 190 and can do all the twists and flips. His mind is in the right place, too, with academics. He used to be on our academic reports in a couple of places and he's nowhere on them now."
Wednesday Grid Update, 8/13
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