Quarterbacks Hard To Judge In Red-White Game

FAYETTEVILLE -- When Arkansas opened spring practices March 13, quarterback Casey Dick had to do drills he'd never done before.

New offensive coordinator David Lee had the junior dodging kickballs and throwing footballs over 7-foot tall ladders. At the same time, Dick had to learn and then execute a playbook that Lee had rewritten since his hire in mid-January. But the verdict is still out on exactly how much Arkansas' passing game has improved over the past three weeks of spring practice. Saturday's Red-White spring game didn't offer much evidence, one way or the other. "(The scrimmage) kind of came out the way it was supposed to, fellas, so it's not anything to get excited about," Lee said. Dick completed 8-of-14 passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Red team to a 44-9 win in front of a mostly empty Reynolds Razorback Stadium. It was hard to judge just how much progress the Razorbacks have made in the passing game, especially when Dick was going against a White team that consisted of backups and walk-ons. "You've still got to go through your reads (regardless of) who's in there. You've still got to go out there and execute and throw and catch," Dick said. "We had some dropped balls and things like that, but guys are going to have some dropped balls just like we're going to miss some throws sometime." For nearly an hour in the cold weather, Dick and backup quarterback Nathan Emert made some simple throws, missed on several passes and did just enough in front of an announced crowd of 2,000 fans Saturday evening. Emert struggled at first while working with the White offense, completing just 3-of-11 passes for 25 yards and tossing a pass that was intercepted by cornerback Matterral Richardson. But the junior, who will battle to be Dick's backup in the fall, was more accurate when he took snaps with the Red later in the scrimmage. He was 4-of-6 for 55 yards and two touchdowns with the first-team offense. "You have to go out there and execute every single day. That's the discipline you have to have, even on a cold day like this," said Emert, a Shiloh Christian graduate. "Lots of guys don't want to be out there, but you've just got to go out there and execute." Arkansas' coaches warned the media not to take too much out of the scrimmage. Running backs Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were limited to only two plays at the end, and the White defense was made up of reserves. Still, Lee said he was pleased with what he saw from his quarterbacks over the three weeks of spring practice, not just from Saturday's "staged" scrimmage. "At this point, I feel like our quarterbacks have progressed, and then (they go) hot and cold and hot and cold," Lee said. "But I got some consistency the last three practices. I feel good about this summer."

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