Monday Grid Update, 8/18

Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney came away from Saturday's scrimmage smiling about what his group had done in both the rushing and passing game, but still seeks more consistency as the Razorbacks move ahead toward the Aug. 30th opener at Auburn.

It's always good when the offensive coordinator walks away from a scrimmage smiling and that's just what Arkansas' Jim Chaney did on Saturday.

The Razorbacks' first offense capped off their effort with tailback Korliss Marshall's 57-yard jaunt for a score.

“I was pleased with a lot of things in that scrimmage,” Chaney said after Monday's first of two workouts. “We played pretty physically tough and I thought that when the ones go against the twos like that you should walk out of there statistically feeling like you were able to do what you like to do.

“We felt like in the run game, with the 17 runs, we won 15 of them – which is a high efficiency and we were really pleased with,” Chaney said. “We were explosive and we ran the ball well.”

What does winning a running play mean?

“If it was 3rd-and-1, we got it,” Chaney said. “That's a win. If it was 1st-and-10, we got four yards. We're happy with that. That is kind of the way we judge our efficiency.”

Marshall won several of those as he had 102 yards on 8 carries with a couple of touchdowns and also had a 4-yard touchdown catch.

“I think Korliss has got a lot of physical ability and you saw it out there when he can burst and get in the open field,” Chaney said. “He has great vertical speed. With Korliss we just continue to work and progress with the nuances of playing running back, continue to get better at pass protection and you need to get better at your run reads. Like the first run, he jumps outside and falls down and that is not what he needs to be doing. He is aware of that.

“The discipline and the consistency is what we are looking for in Korliss, but the physical attributes you guys all see, we do also,” Chaney added. “But you have got to have the discipline to come along with it and be where we need you to be.”

That also is the case with true freshman wideout JoJo Robinson, who had 3 catches for 54 yards – one of which was a dazzling play that saw him complete a 23-yard scoring toss with some nifty moves in the open field and a dive into the end zone.

“He flashed,” Chaney said. “JoJo is a typical freshmen. He'll flash and you'll see that physical ability and why we recruited him and then the next play, he might go the wrong way. So with JoJo, it's that skill set that you like and you just have to find a way to figure out how you are going to get him the ball and how you are use him.

“Are you going to use him? That's the first question and that will be up to Coach B and then how we are going to use him after that. But JoJo really progressed last week, came out and had a real good week and I was real proud of him. He came out and didn't have many mental mistakes. He had a few, but not as many as he had the prior week.”

He also thought starting quarterback Brandon Allen had a good day as he went 19-of-28 passing for 218 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers.

“I thought BA was pretty solid throughout the day,” Chaney said. “We had a couple of little blunders of the plays that he ran that I would like to take back as he would. But we keep working through those plays.

“But for the most part I was pleased,” Chaney said. “I thought that we played very clean. No penalties, no pre-snap stuff and I was happy when I walked off the field because I thought we got something good out of it. It was fun to have everybody there.”

He thought it was good for Razorbacks to have some fans in the stands and he enjoyed hearing the crowd – something he doesn't usually get to do much in the game because he is enclosed in the coach's box.

“When you are in the box, you can't hear anybody,” Chaney said. “All you hear is yourself screaming every once in awhile. The kids reacted to that and it was fun to have the fans there. We kept things simple because of that, but at the end of the day, football is football, blocking is blocking and throwing and catching is the same whatever play we run. So we got a little better as a team on Saturday and I was pleased with the outcome.”

Arkansas, which opens its season August 30 at defending SEC champion Auburn, named redshirt freshman Austin Allen – Brandon's younger brother – its back-up quarterback after the Saturday scrimmage with true freshman Rafe Peavey working with the third team.

“Austin has had a solid camp,” Chaney said. “Like on Saturday, he got to go against the one defense and that usually changes things statistically a little bit. Austin has done a good job and Rafe has also. I am pleased with both of those guys today and as it sits, it's Austin and Rafe, but those two are competing against each other and keep it going so it is exciting to watch them grow and play.”

Chaney admits he feels better at this point with his back-up QB situation than he did last season when now tight end A.J. Derby was at quarterback.

“Probably. I think so,” Chaney said. “ Nothing against AJ and those guys, but Austin has been here a year and knows the offense better than AJ did at this time last year. I think that would be safe to say that.”

He believes it is just getting the reps and experience that has moved Austin Allen down the line.

“It is more familiarity with the offense,” Chaney said. “He knows where to start the concept, he knows when to get rid of the ball although I didn't think he did a particularly good job of that on Saturday. But for the most part, he knows where to go with the ball and he knows the offense – the base offense.”

Tight end Jeremy Sprinkle (3 catches, 91 yards, 1 TD) also made a move forward – at least on Saturday as he continues to add to a mix that also includes Hunter Henry and Derby.

“He did. He played very good,” Chaney said. “I yelled at him a few times today, but Saturday he played pretty good. I wish he would have came out today and done the same thing, but I love him and he will bounce back tonight.

“I think they (the tight ends) were good before they got here and I think they are still a pretty solid group of players. I can't say that nothing has surprised me or I've learned anything. They are what we think they are. They are a pretty good group.”

They all have improved as blockers according to Chaney.

“Substantial,” Chaney said. “They are better run blockers than they have ever been because they are physically stronger and understand the techniques better. They are a year older. My goodness I think having older guys playing for you is a hell of a deal. I like that.”

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