There was a feeling among the Arkansas players after practice Thursday that a sluggish start was going to force Bret Bielema's hand. They thought two-a-days would arrive on Friday.
Turns out, the Arkansas head coach is not ready to put the Razorbacks through any two-a-day workouts just yet. In fact, his desire for fresh legs at a scrimmage Saturday trumped everything. The Hogs went shorter Friday afternoon, after a short walk through session in the morning that allowed both offense and defense to correct a few mistakes from the slow start Thursday.
"It was one of the shortest practice we've had," said Rohan Gaines, senior strong safety. "It wasn't two-a-days, either. Coach B told us last night that we would just work on what we messed up in the morning and that's what we did.
"He said he wanted us to be fresh for the scrimmage. He said he was not going to sacrifice our body for what we did in that practice. Both offense and defense picked it up today. I thought it was actually a pretty good practice."
The Hogs are scheduled to scrimmage in the stadium on Saturday. The practice will begin at 2:25 p.m. with the scrimmage set to start shortly afterwards. The practice is open to Razorback Foundation members and alumni. Entrance is with a copy of an email sent to foundation members, or with a foundation card.
Defensive tackle Bijohn Jackson said there were fears that the Hogs had done just enough things poorly on Thursday that the two-a-days would return. Bielema had warned in the summer when he eliminated two-a-days from the schedule that he could change his mind at any point during August camp.
"We thought we were going to have them," Jackson said. "But he said right now he wasn't going to do that because fresh legs for the scrimmage was important.
"Really, I think the practice wasn't so bad yesterday. There were just a few things at the start. We picked it up."
Jackson said he's proud of the way the defensive line has held up in camp. There have been weight losses and gains over the summer to get all defensive linemen at the proper weight. Jackson has redefined his body although his weight is around the same.
"I'm more explosive," he said. "That's been one of my strengths all along, but it's better. We've got some guys who dropped a few pounds like me and DeMarcus Hodge. Then, you've got Taiwan Johnson, up about 30. Yet, he's faster and stronger. He's carrying that weight great."
Defensive end Tevin Beanum has hovered just under 280. But it's not easy.
"I learned a lot from Trey Flowers the last two years," Beanum said. "I don't like to eat right after practice. But I do it. I watched Trey and he was the same as me. He'd get two plates right after practice to maintain his weight.
"I've got to work hard to stay in the high 270s. But I'm able to do it if I do what the coaches have shown me."
Beanum said the defense is excited about the scrimmage. They still know there is much to work on if it is to play like the defense of November 2014 when two shutouts were recorded.
"Our defense came on late," he said. "I know we lost some players. We are aware of that. We remind ourselves -- and our coaches do, too -- that we were not a 10-2 team. We were 7-6. We have to have an even better effort to do better than 7-6.
"We were riding high after the shutouts. But if we don't improve on where we were starting in camp last year, we could fall right back to where we were as far as the record.
"I don't want to take anything lightly. We have humility."
Beanum understands what it takes to be good. He studied Flowers closely.
"Trey talked a lot about what it took to be a champion," Beanum said. "It wasn't one thing, but I think one of the big things was how he prepared. He handled everything like a professional. It was about the way he studied tape, the way he prepared his body and the way he took notes in meetings. It's all the little things."
One of the things the Hogs are replacing is leadership. Flowers was a standout captain. Gaines said there was evidence of leadership Thursday.
"Brandon Allen talked after practice when we were called up," Gaines said. "He said the way we started practice was just not acceptable. I think we have good leaders. He and Jonathan Williams and Keon Hatcher lead on offense. On defense, I think we have several. I will say something. Jamichael Winston and Brooks Ellis will say something. We have that on the team."
Bielema Wants Fresh Legs for Scrimmage
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