Through four days of spring practice, it sounds like the defense is ahead of the offense. It's like that in most springs and with so many key offensive players departed there should be no surprise that it's like that at Arkansas.
"We've been very inconsistent," said Dan Enos when asked about quarterback play thus far in the spring.
Arkansas is trying to replace Brandon Allen at quarterback. Enos wasn't talking so much about Saturday's brief scrimmage, mostly designed with the running game in mind. Austin Allen and Rafe Peavey have gotten the snaps with the first two units, with Ty Storey and Ricky Town picking up the rest.
Enos coaches the quarterbacks and is the offensive coordinator. He said there "wasn't a lot of action" for the quarterbacks on Saturday.
There was praise for the way all of the quarterbacks handled the checks at the line of scrimmage in the running game part of the scrimmage.
"They all did a nice job," Enos said. "They have all been pretty good for most of it in the run game. Ricky (Town) got it right on one play, getting the blocker in the right position. I think they have a good grasp of it as a group and our defense presents a big challenge with so many things that they do."
Three fumbled snaps -- all by Ty Storey and Town -- in the scrimmage Saturday were the most serious problems.
"We've had too many turnovers," Enos said. "We have high expectations in that area. Both Austin and Rafe have done better with that. Austin had his first today. He forced one (for an interception) and he was upset. He's hard on himself."
By contrast, that was one of the highlights for Robb Smith, the defensive coordinator. Linebacker Brooks Ellis grabbed that interception.
Smith thought there were too many positives gains by the offense in the running game on Saturday. Linebackers over ran some plays that allowed cut backs.
"It was our first opportunity to tackle and as the day went on we got better," Smith said. "We did over run some things, but the positive was that we were playing fast."
There has been improvement in the secondary where Paul Rhoads is the new coach. Smith sees the development at both corner and safety.
"Last year, we were not up to our standards," Smith said. "We have to get better in all areas, but especially in defending the pass.
"We are getting guys in position and that's good, but we can't rest on our laurels. I think Paul has embraced what we are doing and has a great vision of the big picture. He does a great job of teaching.
"What I see is that our guys in the back end are gaining confidence. I think he's an excellent teacher who holds guys accountable. I thought we did a great job (in the scrimmage) of keeping guys in front of us. We can generate a better pass rush, but I'm pleased with the effort."
Santos Ramirez is trying to win the starting strong safety job. He has said he's getting a better understanding of the system and the reason behind the calls.
"I think Santos has certainly embraced Coach Rhoads," Smith said. "He's done well, but so has De'Andre Coley. He's made some good steps, too."
Smith said he sees a more aggressive nature at corner and safety.
"I think we are getting back to an aggressiveness nature," Smith said, "and you can't be aggressive unless you are confident."
Rhoads said it's a matter of getting to the "finer" points of play in the secondary.
"They have been well coached and well drilled," he said. "What I want is to make sure they have an overall knowledge of the defense.
"You have to know your position, but you also need to know concept and what is expected of the guys around you in the defense. When you know concept, you can relate to what is going on with the entire defense. Then, that helps you be successful. It's why we are drilling them in concept.
"I think you see after four days that they know a little more about the overall defense and why the details are important.
"They are still making mistakes. But now, they know why it's a mistake. They understand the importance of the details.
"I was disappointed with where we started, but I see progress going into our fifth day tomorrow. Part of it, we just weren't in football shape. That's the way it is in all springs. You work on conditioning, but you haven't played football in a while and you aren't in football shape. We are getting there.
"I will say that I'm having a blast. I have a great (meeting) room with a lot of kids that are eager to learn. I can't wait to come to work with them each day. They are a lot of fun."
Enos said there are positives in the development of the quarterbacks.
"There are steps forward, then steps back," he said. "That goes for all of them. It's just part of the process.
"Every day there is a little more installation. We put in some things today."
Looking at the overall offense, Enos said he was pleased with the play of the running backs, especially Kody Walker and Damon "Duwop" Mitchell.
"We ran the ball extremely well," he said. "Kody and Duwop did extremely well. Duwop did some things with a physical nature. (Mitchell) was excellent. He's really good there with that move. He's got a great burst and shown a toughness as a runner. He's a physical guy."
The line play "was inconsistent," but he called the move of Hjalte Froholdt to offensive guard "a natural. He looks comfortable, natural. Frank (Ragnow) and Dan (Skipper) continue to play well."