Arkansas put the ball down for 122 plays in the major scrimmage of the spring, according to a happy head coach. Bret Bielma was pleased not only with the play on both sides of the ball, but that there were no major injuries.
One of the highlights came at the end of the day in kicking situations when redshirt freshman Cole Hedlund won a duel with Adam McFain and Lane Saling by nailing a 59-yard field goal. McFain and Saling both missed.
"Well, just from a day of work I couldn't be more pleased," Bielema said. "That was probably our more heavy work day."
Bielema will assess what he wants in the final two weeks of work leading up to the April 25 spring game. But next week looks like a time to look at opponent packages.
"Saturday we will kind of see where we are at and if we are going to scrimmage or not," he said. "We would really like to get some opponent prep in these next three practices. I would really like Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday practices next week to really be nice, crisp, kind of like bowl type practices where we are just really getting good against good and getting some good opponent work and good developmental work with our young guys.
"And then we will get into that last week and see exactly where we are at. Of course the spring game will be ones against the world. It will be ones against everybody else. And at least for the first half it's going to be on the SEC Network so we have got a little time constraints and stuff like that. Really, really please through Practice Nine to see where are at, to see guys grow as much mentally as they do physically. Really came out here today I think pretty injury free."
Senior quarterback Brandon Allen drew praise from Bielema. There really isn't a battle for his spot, just for the backup job. Bielema said his competition is around the SEC, not in the Arkansas camp this spring.
Brandon Allen was 17 of 23 for 229 yards and two touchdowns. The next three suffered from a lack of protection at times. Austin Allen was 10 of 12 for 80 yards and one TD. Rafe Peavey and Ty Storey were both 10 of 12 and did not have a touchdown.
There were no pass interceptions. Walk-on running back Connor McPherson lost the ball for the day's only turnover. There were only three penalties on the day, an improvement over last week when Bielema had the entire team do 100 yards of up downs.
Tight end Jeremy Sprinkle led the pass catchers with four catches for 78 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Keon Hatcher had three catches for 39 yards, rebounding from a bruised knee that sidelined him in last week's scrimmage. Fullback Tyler Colquitt had five catches for 79 yards. Tight end Hunter Henry was limited to the early part of the scrimmage but did have two catches for 21 yards.
With Jonathan Williams not dressed for the scrimmage, the running duties were split between Alex Collins, Kody Walker and McPherson. Walker had 20 carries for 69 yards. Collins, who returned after tweaking an ankle early in the scrimmage, had six for 28. McPherson had 17 for 48.
Much of the scrimmage was situational, with both third down and goal line work getting a heavy look. There were two segments for both units to put the ball down to see if they could march to the end zone. The first offense and first defense split two possessions.
Wise led the defense with four sacks. He had slipped behind Tevin Beanum at the rush end spot after last week, but stepped up this week.
"We really challenged him this week," Bielema said. "The only limitations - and I know I said this last week about somebody, but Deatrich falls in that same category - the only person that will limit Deatrich Wise is Deatrich Wise.
"As we go out on the road and recruit defensive ends, you can't get any better than that. He's athletic. He's very very strong. Powerful kid. What I challenged him with, I kind of put this simplistically with them - everybody goes to your holiday dinners and you have a plate. You've got your main dish. And you've got your potatotes and your vegetables and you go down the chow line and everybody keeps putting more and more, eventually stuff starts to fall off. And you can't handle it.
"Same way, I think Deatrich's plate is full. He's a fraternity guy, which I have nothing against fraternity guys. He's also trying to do track, he's trying to be a student, he's trying to be a football player and at some point something's going to give. I sure as heck don't want it to be football or academics. I think the more he can get focused on what we want him to, the better off he'll be."
Bielema Pleased with Scrimmage
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