Razorbacks Improve After Scrimmage

Arkansas offensive coordinator likes the response in practice this week after some issues in Saturday's scrimmage. Coaches met with the media before practice Wednesday.

Offensive coordinator Dan Enos met with the media on Wednesday ahead of practice. He thought there were some good things in the scrimmage, especially in the running game. There were big plays and fewer mistakes. In the passing game, things were not "in sync" early, but got better.

It wasn't Brandon Allen's best day. In fact, Enos said it was the only day that he wouldn't grade as top shelf. The senior quarterback has been solid this week.

As much as anything in the scimmage, some of the receivers weren't in the right positions. It got better as the day progressed. Sam Pittman was unhappy with pass protection in "bull rush situations" but that has gotten fixed this week.

Enos loves the wide receivers and all have had a much better week of practice than they had in the scrimmage. He said Dominique Reed is coming and has an explosive play almost every day. His play list is growing and calls him "very smart. He picks it up fast."

Enos said the receivers stepping to the front as far as knowledge of the scheme in the move to work down to five or six would be Keon Hatcher, Jared Cornelius, Jo Jo Robinson, Drew Morgan, Cody Hollister, Damon Mitchell and Reed. He also said that LaMichael Pettway, Deon Stewart and Kenderick Edwards are going to be exceptional in time. The athletic ability in that group is off the charts. They just need more time to learn the offense.

Defensive coordinator Robb Smith is pleased with the progress in camp. He said the Hogs are on target to get to the high standards set by last year's defense and that's all that will be accepted.

There seemed to be concern with head coach Bret Bielema about development of Khalia Hackett at middle linebacker. Smith said that's been a big focus this week and there have been positive steps, some after a stripe was added to Hackett's helmet to give away his eye and head movement in regards to keys.

"That's a head coach that is a former linebacker coach," Smith said. "We have been able to focus on his techniques. It was a great move and it's helped this week. We've been able to correct some things and move forward. I also think that competition has been a big help, too. Josh Harris has played well. He has shown us that he can make plays. He's not as big, or tall, but he doesn't make mistakes and he will hit you.

"Dre Greenlaw has been everything we thought he would be. He's going to be an exceptional will linebacker. I saw him in the Fort Smith Southside game last year. I loved him. I thought he would be a will linebacker. He's that.

"This week things are coming together. Some of his instincts have been proven to be right as he learns more and more. He has some things as far as instinct, cover and ability to make plays that are very good. I think he will be very good against spread teams. Now he understands why his instincts are right. He's getting it.

"As far as Brooks Ellis moving back to mike, I don't think we are even close to that. I think we are developing mike and doing well with Khalia and Josh. I know Brooks is going to have a special year at will and that's where we are going to keep him. He's been wonderful.

"Now there may be a time that we won't to get both Brooks and Dre on the field together. There are times that we are playing a package that it works that way. But right now, they are both at will."

"Dre is special. Some guys see it, some guys don't. He sees it. He's going to continue to develop a sense of what we are doing. I like him a lot."

Enos loved what he saw of the defense, but he wasn't going to just tip his cap and say the defense should be ahead early in camp.

"We have and can move the ball against our defense," he said. "They are very good and they are very good scheme wise. They present real problems. But we can do better than we did in some areas. I did think we were good against them in the run game."

Some of that was great blocking and smooth cuts from both Alex Collins and Rawleigh Williams, the freshman getting a bigger role with the loss of Jonathan Williams to foot surgery.

"A lot of times, defense dictates what you do in a scrimmage," he said. "We probably didn't do some things with the tight ends that will be in the plan. We wanted to look at certain things. And, it was a lot situational, working down and distance early. We will involve Hunter Henry and Jeremy Sprinkle more than we did in games.

"One of the things we are doing this week, we are getting the coaches off the field and letting the players play. We found out that in game situations like Saturday, they were out of sync. So it's helped. That's what you do in camp, get them ready for game situations. We'll get more of that in another scrimmage.

"It's good to practice against a good defense, too. You need to make mistakes and find out. We are finding out who can step up in a game-like setting and we are getting better. Brandon has had a great week and we've been much more in sync as far as the guys around him. We thought we took a step back Saturday, but we challenged guys and we've had a very good week."

As far as the backs, Enos said, "Alex Collins is having a great camp. Kody Walker is very, very good, too. Rawleigh Williams is very confident. He does not look like a freshman. He's good in pass protection, too. He's good at catching the ball out of the backfield. He's an every down back."

Running backs coach Jemal Singleton is pleased with the backfield work, noting it's tough to lose Jonathan Williams. The room has stepped up collectively in his absence.

"Rawleigh is a freshman, but he's further ahead than I imagined," Singleton said. "You look at him and you may not realize that he's 220 now. He stays low and runs with his pads. That's why he doesn't look like a freshman.

"He's done well. He missed a test question on pass pro today, but he hasn't missed many. He argued that he had it right, but he finally agreed with me. He's working hard to have it all perfect.

"Kody Walker is ready for a bigger role. When I got here, I did research on what I would have in the room. I didn't know a lot about Kody. But he's one of the leaders. He's the hidden gem I found. I tell him that he's like an old man, like me. He's been around. He's a worker and a competitor. I think he's ready to take on more.

"He's 260 but he can still move. He looked great in the scrimmage. He has not lost one step with the added weight and he's still got his lateral movement. He cuts like a 220 guy.

"I told him to work on his skills on the hurdles because there are going to be a lot of people going for his feet."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories