Hogs Offensive Line Coach Miffed

FAYETTEVILLE -- One reason Arkansas' Saturday scrimmage in Reynolds Razorback Stadium was so scripted was the thin offensive line.

Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt said it would be almost impossible to make it more lengthy because of the lack of depth, so he stuck with his 50-to-60 play plan.

Basically, the numbers didn't add up for a variety of reasons, but mainly because there were only eight offensive linemen.

Jonathan Luigs, Cody Green and Zac Tubbs were sidelined. Tony Ugoh is participating in track.

Still, Razorbacks offensive line coach Mike Markuson wasn't making any excuses.

And he definitely wasn't happy with his linemen.

"Our offensive line wasn't worth a flip today," Markuson said. "We didn't block a soul. Give (the defense) some credit but we've got a long way to go. Too many mistakes.

"We'd have a good play and then we'd screw up. I mean, we'd turn somebody loose, we'd have a four-yard gain, second-and-six, then either get an offsides or turn somebody loose and then all of sudden it's either third-and-long or second-and-long after first down.

"A lot of things that happened after first down ... I mean, it's totally unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.

"We're got to get a lot better."

Strong Start For Defensive End

One of the most notable players Saturday was hiccup-quick 6-foot-3 junior defensive end Desmond Sims, a converted linebacker. On the first play from scrimmage, Sims immediately made some eyebrows raise to their highest levels.

Quarterback Robert Johnson dropped back, then rolled left before Sims came crashing in on him. That forced Johnson to throw incomplete.

Sims later broke up a pass, had several quarterback pressures and registered a sack.

"I'm like 232 (pounds) right now," Sims said. "That's good because it helps with my speed. The advantage right now of playing defensive end is my speed and my quickness. I mean, I've got a little agility, too, and that helps me out a lot.

"I think the adjustment to defensive end has really been smooth. Coach Rock (defensive line coach Tracy Rocker) has helped me out a lot coaching me. Other D-ends are also helping me out to make it a smooth transition. We keep getting better each day and learning the scheme and coming out here and playing it.

"I mean, we could be real great."

Last year, Sims played in all 11 games at linebacker and had 37 tackles (20 solo). He also had 3 tackles for losses totaling 10 yards and 1 quarterback hurry.

Strong safety Dallas Washington led the way with six tackles Saturday. Linebacker Pierre Brown and defensive tackle Marcus Harrison each had five.

Kicking Woes

Razorbacks senior place-kicker Chris Balseiro had his share of problems during Saturday's scrimmage.

Balseiro was 0-for-3 from 40 yards and was only 2 of 6 for the afternoon. He even had one kick blocked -- from 34 yards out -- by defensive tackle Fred Bledsoe.

"We need every point," Nutt said. "We've been averaging 30 points the last couple years and need to get better and better. Hopefully, when we get on the 30-yard line and in we're going to be able to get three points."

"I think (Balseiro) had a bad day. He had a real good week up to this point."

Last year, Balseiro was 4 of 7 on field-goal attempts, and hit 40 of 41 PATs while leading the team in scoring with 52 points.

Herring Objects

One just had to wonder when colorful and animated first-year defensive coordinator Reggie Herring would take center stage.

With a little more than half the scrimmage completed, Herring, flapping his arms and jaws, apparently disagreed with an interference call against cornerback Darius Vinnett on a pass intended for split end David Thompson.

Obviously, the small crowd on the east side of the stadium loved it, judging by the loud sound of clapping.

"What I do is you try to have fun with the referees now because they're not very much fun during the season," Herring said. "You try to razz them a little bit. During the season, I'm going to let coach Nutt get on the referees."

No Pink Jerseys

No one was wearing a pink jersey, punishment for loafing too much on defense, on Saturday. Herring said it was because the Razorbacks turned in their best practice of the spring Friday.

"It was a buzz saw and I don't know where it came from," Herring said. "I told them that was the first time they looked like real football players. We went a long team period in middle drill and that's the first time we looked like we played fast with a twitch and with an attitude and energy was yesterday. I told them yesterday, ‘That's the first time we practiced like a Division I football team.

"We took the pinks off for (Saturday). Now we're going to go back and grade the film and start over again and we're going to be looking for pinks."

The Hogs "loaf" total, as Herring calls it, continued to drop after Thursday's scrimmage (85). He calculated only 22 during Friday's workout.

Extra Points

Defensive end Michael Tate, a redshirt freshman, strained his right knee early in the scrimmage, but no other significant injuries were sustained. ... Arkansas returns to the practice field on Monday afternoon. The Razorbacks culminate spring drills April 16 with the annual Red vs. White Spring Game in Razorback Stadium.

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