Wittke Looking For Consistency

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas quarterbacks coach Roy Wittke said the Razorbacks have watched all three quarterbacks -- Robert Johnson, Alex Mortensen and Cole Barthel -- take strides during the second week of spring practice.

They just haven't seen any one of the three separate themselves from the pack.

"We've charted everything they've done and we've graded everything," Wittke said. "To be real honest, there hasn't been large separation yet because there hasn't been the consistency that I think we need from that position."

Arkansas will wrap up the second week of its spring evaluation period without a clear front-runner to replace departed senior Matt Jones. But that doesn't mean the Hogs are pressing the panic button with one week left in spring drills.

There is inconsistency, but Wittke said all three are making quicker decisions, digesting pieces of the playbook and becoming more comfortable with the system. In particular, he said there were plenty of highlights during Thursday's red zone drill despite mounting injuries to the offensive line.

"In their defense, with getting three guys reps, we haven't necessarily given one guy the opportunity to maybe break away from the pack," Wittke said. "But we've learned more and we've gotten more information on them. Every day all of them have gotten some really good work in and we continue to make progress.

"We're just not ready to make a decision at this point in time."

It doesn't help that Arkansas is losing scrimmage time because of its injury-depleted offensive line. The Razorbacks also have had to cut back on practice time and cut their 100-play, 11-on-11 team sessions in half.

But Mortensen said they're getting in as much quality work as possible.

"I think part of it is good because we're having to learn how to deal with pressure now," Mortensen said. "The defense smells blood over there and start bringing more pressure, more blitzes. It's good for us to deal with those things now.

"We're still getting a good bit of teamwork in practice. The only difference between that and a scrimmage is we're not being taken to the ground."

Wittke said the practice time for each quarterback will remain the same next week unless someone emerges from the group.

If not, the Hogs have no problem taking the quarterback battle into the fall.

"At the end of next week, we can talk about it every day as an offensive staff," Wittke said. "We'll talk about where we're at and if we feel like we can make a decision we will. If not, then we'll take it into the summer and go into fall camp."

One Lineman Returns
One of the Razorbacks' banged-up offensive linemen was back on the field Friday.

Redshirt freshman guard Jonathan Luigs participated in individual work a week after sustaining a laceration and puncture to his right calf. Luigs, who had the gash closed by 14 stitches, missed five consecutive practices.

"It was real sore," said Luigs, who is hoping to get his stitches out today. "I tried to get in some individual work, get back into the swing of things and stretch it out.

"I just want to get out there and get better and give them a break."

Nutt said Luigs probably won't participate in today's full-pads practice, but said he should be available next week. He's hoping the same for guard Chase Pressley, who sustained a concussion earlier this week.

No Scrimmage Today
Arkansas will not scrimmage in Razorback Stadium when it returns to the field this morning because of the rash of offensive line injuries.

Instead, the Hogs' 10th practice will be a closed, full pads workout on the practice field. Before the injuries, Arkansas intended to hold a scrimmage similar to last Saturday's 60-play outing.

"There's not going to be a scrimmage unless there's four, five plays at the end where you just try to compete," Nutt said. "We can't do that like we did last Saturday."

Arkansas still plans to hold an abbreviated Red and White Game next Saturday at 11:30, which will be part of the day-long Razorfest.

Robinson Banged Up
Senior safety Lerinezo Robinson tried to shrug off his off-season shoulder surgery and put on the pads earlier this spring. But the senior, who was third on the team in tackles last season (57), has been limited to non-contact work this week.

"He came out early and really tried to push it to get back on the field," position coach Chris Vaughn said. "We thought it was smart to say, 'We want to have you for the season. Let's not do any more damage than we need to.'

"The thing we wanted to see was that he really wanted to get back out there at the beginning of the spring. But the contact was a little too much."

In addition, defensive tackle Fred Bledsoe missed his fourth practice after sustaining a concussion last Saturday.

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