Arkansas coach Bret Bielema encourages players to be early. If not, that's considered being late. That's the message Bielema emphasized with JoJo Robinson, Alex Collins and Cornelius Floyd in the first 20 minutes of Thursday's practice, all open to the media.
Robinson, Collins and Floyd arrived just as stretching began on Thursday. That was too late by the Bielema clock. They came on the field carrying a mattress, then spent three periods of the practice carrying blocking dummies.
"We are encouraged to be early," Robinson said. "If you aren't early, you are late. We were on time today and that won't happen again. We will be early."
Robinson said he accepted the punishment.
"It won't happen again," Robinson said. "We made a mistake today before practice. We didn't oversleep."
Robinson said the three players jumped into practice after those first four periods and didn't miss anything from that point forward.
Quarterback Brandon Allen said afterwards that he had not seen the mattress used to reinforce arrival times before Thursday.
"I believe three guys were late," Allen said. "You don't want to be late. We can't have that. That won't happen here, for stretching or flex."
It wasn't the best day in other areas. Bielema told the team afterwards that the schedule for Friday will be evaluated further and might be changed. He had told the team before the season that there would be no two-a-days. The team had one practice and a walk through on Wednesday, the first time the NCAA would have allowed two workouts. There was only a walk through and a practice set for Friday.
"Yesterday was good, but today we struggled," right tackle Dan Skipper said. "Basically, I think the schedule will be revamped. We will come back for meetings and we'll see what it holds. Our job right now is to hydrate and be ready for whatever they give us.
"We were sluggish and slow starting out today and didn't execute. Up front, we didn't deliver."
Backup left tackle Johnny Gibson summed it up well.
"Our fifth winning edge is that you earn everything," Gibson said. "We didn't earn it today. That's the way it is. We understand. I'm not sure what it's going to be just yet, but we know you have to earn everything."
Robinson had been praised for doing everything right by wideout coach Michael Smith on Wednesday. He's been a nice development as far as route running.
Smith said he's shown that he can beat coverages. Allen said there have been several wideouts that have shown that kind of ability. Offensive coordinator Dan Enos also praised Robinson.
"Coach Enos put tape up where we ran perfect routes against perfect coverage and it was open," Allen said. "That's what he expects us to do. That's the standard. We expect to be good against good defensive backs. We have good receivers and they are going against great defensive backs. It shows we can get open."
Robinson thinks he's improved since his redshirt season.
"I think I'm quicker in and out of my breaks," Robinson said. "I'm still working hard to get better, but I think I've improved. I've been going hard in the weight room, getting extra work. Me, Kendrick (Edwards) and Duwop (Mitchell) are getting extra lifting every chance we get. I think I'm bigger and faster."
The Hogs' practice (or practices) on Friday will be preparation for a scrimmage set for Saturday in the stadium that will be open to Razorback Foundation members, a promise Bielema made after an open practice in the spring was moved inside because of weather and closed to those donors.
Allen said the team is excited about the open practice.
"Our team needs to be in that kind of atmosphere," Allen said. "It's good preparation for the season. We look forward to being out in the stadium. We really need a game-like atmosphere."
Allen was asked about a practice early in the week that produced his first two pass interceptions of fall camp. He went through all 15 practices in the spring without a pick.
"One was a deflection and the other one was strictly my fault," Allen said. "Coach (Robb) Smith said it took them nine months, but they finally got one. Whenever I have one, I'm not happy. I'm pretty sure there weren't any today."
Skipper was asked about his weight. He's held 330 during fall camp. There was a time in the spring when he was at 307, but he said there were some unusual circumstances for his weight loss.
"I had food poisoning and I was in the hospital," he said. "That was my lightest day. I was just out of the hospital. I was just glad to be back on solid foods. I got it back fairly quickly."
Bielema said there was also a time when Skipper couldn't lift weights because of a thumb surgery. Skipper did not have any protective tape on his thumb on Thursday.
"It's good," he said. "No problems. I'm just fine."
Bielema Gives Trio Mattress Treatment
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