Razorbacks Go Through Pad-Popping Drill

FAYETTEVILLE — Thirty minutes into Thursday's football practice, several Arkansas coaches set two orange cones 10 yards apart and yelled, "Angle Tackle!" Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson then barked for a volunteer. Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino did the same, with running backs and tight ends gathered by one cone and linebackers and safeties by the other.

Junior free safety Matt Harris and junior running back Michael Smith jumped to the front of the lines. Petrino handed Smith a football while whispering into his helmet. Smith ran at Harris, tried to get past him and instead endured a vicious hit.

The Razorbacks, who whooped and hollered at the sight of the contact, came away fans of the drill.

"It's a 1-on-1 drill, and it just comes down to who wants it more," Harris said. "It was a fun drill. That's why you put the pads on. That really got us going. That got the intensity up."

Each player went through the drill several times. Junior tight end Andrew Davis, the largest player in the drill at 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds, bulldozed several tacklers. Running backs coach Tim Horton likes the drill, which takes place on the mini-field the coaches create — seven yards from the sideline width-wise and 10 yards long.

"It's fundamental football at its simplest form," Horton said. "We're trying to do a good job of tackling, and at the same time as an offensive player, you're trying to break a tackle and take care of the ball and run with good pad level."

Second Scrimmage

Arkansas plans to hold its second scrimmage of the spring today. The scrimmage is expected to be held during the last hour of the Razorbacks' practice, which starts at 4 p.m. and usually runs about two hours. Weather permitting, the scrimmage will be open to the public.

"We're going to have a long, hard scrimmage," Petrino said. "(Sunday's) was a short easy one. This will be a good long one. ... It's way too early for the depth chart. We're just evaluating and guys are competing. We're just trying to find out a lot more about (the players)."

Forte Misses Practice

Senior linebacker Elston Forte didn't practice Thursday, and Petrino wouldn't elaborate on his status when asked. Petrino has discussed injuries so far this spring but signaled a change in his approach.

"We're not going to talk anymore about injured players," Petrino said. "We're going to talk about the guys who practiced."

The Razorbacks are already thin at linebacker, with junior Freddie Fairchild serving an indefinite suspension and junior Wendel Davis sidelined with a knee injury.

Extra Points

Freshman receiver Crosby Tuck (quad), junior cornerback Jerell Norton (hamstring) and sophomore running back Chip Gregory (ankle) dressed out but didn't participate in individual or team drills. They worked out on the side of the practice field. Junior receiver London Crawford tweaked his hamstring but finished practiced with a slight limp. ... Arkansas practiced under the sun in 70-degree weather Thursday, its third outdoor practice this spring and its first since Sunday. ... About 150 high school coaches joined about 200 fans who watched Arkansas' practice.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories