Hogs Deal With Long, Tiring Scrimmage

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick had a feeling he'd spend Friday night icing his right shoulder.

And who could blame him after taking part in perhaps the longest scrimmage of his life?

Arkansas' coaches had warned their players that the second spring scrimmage would be considerably longer than the hourlong one they ran through nearly a week ago.

But at a certain point during Friday's marathon practice, even some of the Razorbacks lost track of how many snaps they had taken. A two-hour scrimmage that includes more than 150 snaps and no breaks could have that effect on a player.

"We've never scrimmaged that long before. It was very tiring," Arkansas defensive end Antwain Robinson said. "It seemed like we were out there for like 300 plays."

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino capped the second week of spring practice with a lengthy scrimmage that tested his team's endurance. Even some of the fans that came out to Reynolds Razorback Stadium to watch couldn't make it through the entire session.

"Probably the biggest thing that coach (Petrino) always talks to (the players) about is pushing to the very, very limit when they're tired," Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said. "And then are they going to do what they're coached to do?"

One thing Bobby Petrino had hoped to see during Friday's scrimmage was more execution from his quarterbacks. They responded for the most part, despite the heavy workload.

Dick showed he could handle the large number of passes that could be expected of him in Arkansas' new offense. He found his receivers, led the Razorbacks on several scoring drives and finished 23-of-39 for 281 and two touchdowns.

"We've got a lot of things accomplished. We had a really long scrimmage, probably the longest one I've ever been apart of," Dick said. "We got some good things accomplished, but we've still got a ways to go with some things and we've just got to come out and execute better."

At the same time, backup quarterback Alex Mortensen made a strong impression early on.

His first pass was a 63-yard completion to tight end Andrew Davie that set up a touchdown run two plays later. On Mortensen's next attempt, he found wide receiver Rod Coleman for a 45-yard touchdown.

"(Davie's catch) was good because it was a short pass, and that was one of those deals where your teammate makes you look good and he runs all the way down the field," said Mortensen, who completed 7-of-15 passes for 153 yards with one touchdown. "It was a nice little confidence boost."

Arkansas' defense also shined at times during the scrimmage, forcing eight turnovers and getting at least four sacks from Robinson. Statistics from the scrimmage aren't official.

But not everything went smoothly.

Quarterback Ryan Mallett, who was hoping to push Dick for the starting job, injured his right thumb after attempting a pass. His status for the rest of the spring remains uncertain.

At the same time, running back Brandon Barnett had trouble holding onto the football. The junior fumbled five times, giving coaches a reason to be concerned as he competes with Michael Smith for the starting job.

Barnett finished with 19 carries for a team-high 50 yards and three touchdowns.

"You have your ups and downs. This is just one of my bad days," Barnett said. "So hopefully, I can just recuperate and get better everyday."

Arkansas will return to practice Monday after taking today and Sunday off.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories