Arkansas held possibly the longest scrimmage of the Bret Bielema era with the Razorbacks. It was a 135-play scrimmage that produced some good things and then a few not so good.
For the Razorbacks, this completes six spring practices. They have nine more remaining with the spring game set for three weeks from today.
Here are some things to take away from the first scrimmage.
Despite the long scrimmage, there was only a couple of new injuries. Bret Bielema talked about those and they also held out sophomore cornerback Britto Tutt, true freshman cornerback Korey Hernandez and junior linebacker Dre Greenlaw. Bielema also held Frank Ragnow out as well as he stated he has planned to do this spring.
"Britto is probably right on the verge," Bielema said. "I'll give him another week of practice before we throw him into a live scrimmage. But coming out of the scrimmage stayed pretty healthy. Only two guys that I'm aware of, Alexis Jean-Baptiste early on had something with a foot. Haven't got a clarification on that yet. But I don't think it's too serious but we'll let you know next week. And then Giovanni (LaFrance) just looked like he got a high ankle, looked like he got rolled up on and had an ankle sprain there.
"So, came out of it pretty healthy, very physical. We really had a physical week. I told our guys Thursday we would probably go half pad and had one of our most physical practices of the spring. Just guys are getting after it. A lot of intensity. I should say I thought they carried it out there today, had the officials call it close. It's a positive we didn't have any issues in that area in that regard. I asked the officials to call it pretty tight. So, we'll look at the film and see where that goes."
Saturday's scrimmage was the first time this spring they have tackled to the ground.
Almost to Century Mark
Redshirt freshman Jordan Jones had four receptions for 99 yards including a 63-yard touchdown bomb from Cole Kelley. Jones is a speedster who has a chance to help the team this fall after four seniors departed from 2016.
"Jordan is a tremendously talented, extremely intelligent, but what we’ve got to do is convince Jordan Jones he can be good," Bielema said. "Mike’s (Michael Smith) doing a great job with those wideouts. I thought we obviously have got a lot of youth in the room and a lot of inexperience.
"You can see Brandon Martin has got some things. Jonathan Nance made a nice catch. They’ve got talent. Now we’ve put got to keep bringing them along. If Jordan Jones wants to be a really good player he can be that. He’s long, he’s athletic. He’s got speed. He can definitely catch the ball and he’s more than smart enough."
Pound That Ball
Arkansas' running backs had a good day on Saturday. Junior Rawleigh Williams led the way with 19 carries for 182 yards including a 68-yard touchdown. Devwah Whaley, Maleek Williams and Juan Day also had several good plays. Bielema was pleased with Williams and the others.
"I wanted him and Devwah to take the load with the one's and I wanted Maleek and J. Day to take it with the two's," Bielema said. "It's the first time in a long time J. Day has been cleared for a live scrimmage situation. So, I wanted those guys to get a good look as well. Rawleigh and Devwah have a nice competition going. And the more that we could get Rawleigh to get some cuts that we wanted to improve upon in the fall. I think there are some cuts that we wanted to improve upon in the fall. I think there are some specific plays that Dan wanted to run with him in there and he did a good job. I knew Rawleigh and Devwah do really good. I was glad to see Maleek and J. Day get out there and do those things."
Look at Nose Guard
Sophomore Austin Capps was actually the first nose guard on Saturday. Bijhon Jackson, who returned a Cole Kelley interception 37 yards for a touchdown, worked with the second unit at first and also played some defensive end. Capps and Jackson are both expected to see a lot of action this fall.
"Really him and Bijhon kind of rotated after last Saturday's practice," Bielema said. "Capps goes back to his Star City days of being a great baseball player. He's really quick with his hands, sudden, and that's helped him at that position. We actually took a look at him and Bijhon as well as a defensive end. I'm sure you saw him out there lined out at d-end as well. So, we're really trying to find a mix of the best three to get on the field at any given time and the best three and so far."
New Back-up Left Tackle
On Saturday, it was senior Paul Ramirez backing up Colton Jackson at left tackle. In some of the open periods of previous practices true freshman Shane Clenin was behind Jackson Bielema talked about Ramirez.
"Paul has played both guard and he played tackle at junior college," Bielema said. "So he had actually been playing really well. So, again, we want to try to get our best five, then our next best five. Obviously with Frank (Ragnow) not being in there, we brought Zach (Rogers) up, which that kind of moves some guys inside and outside. But Paul has been having a nice spring. He's been competing. He understands things a little bit better. So, and Shane is a true freshman. I couldn't be more happy with those three freshman that came in in January with where they're at right now."
Kirby Adcock and Dalton Wagner are the other two freshmen offensive linemen who enrolled at midterm.
Leaving the Team
In addition, two walk-on wide receivers have left the team. Bielema talked about that as well.
"Two guys that -- two guys in particular," Bielema said. "Cam Colbert, a good walk-on for us, a guy that has done some really good things for us, played as a redshirt freshman, sophomore after he redshirted as a true freshman out of Pulaski (Academy). He's actually going to move on and look at options at maybe FCS or Division III or Division II level. Great kid, phenomenal, but obviously everybody can't play here. So, getting an opportunity to go on and move on.
"And Luke Rossi, a man that has done some good things in our program, non-scholarship player, good kid, re-aggravated a hamstring and that's the third or fourth issue with his hammy. So, he's going to actually hang it up. He'll stay in school here, may be able to talk him into coming back with us as a student coach. He's a tremendous kid and wants to get into coaching sometime down the road. So, we'll work with those two kids moving forward."