Razorbacks Ready for ‘Big Day'

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino surprised the Razorbacks with last Saturday's scrimmage, keeping his players on the field for more than 150 plays in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

There's no telling how long they'll be in the huddle today, but Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino did reveal one thing: It will be an important practice.

"(Today) will be a real big day," Paul Petrino said. "It will be a real big day for the depth chart and see where everybody is going into the next week for the spring game. There will be a lot on the line (today)."

Arkansas will hold its third scrimmage in Reynolds Razorback Stadium at 10:30 a.m. The length and time may be up in the air — Paul Petrino said it could be longer than last week's marathon — but the Hogs are hoping to pull plenty from the workout a week before the spring-ending, Red-White Game on April 26.

"Hopefully (we'll make) some big strides in execution and everyone knowing their assignment, which allows you to play faster," Paul Petrino said. "It's about guys going out and playing with speed, reacting and not having to think about it when it happens."

Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson is looking for the same things from his group.

Robinson said he has seen progress with the defense this spring, but isn't satisfied. So he wants more consistency, discipline and intensity today.

"They're still thinking through it, so they're not playing as fast as they're capable," Robinson said. "Any time they have to think, they're going to continue to play slow. We want to get them beyond that and react and we're still a ways away from that."

Shifting Starters

Arkansas' first-team defense had a different look at middle linebacker during Friday's practice.

Sophomore Jermaine Love moved into the starting spot in place of redshirt freshman Jerry Franklin.

"He's a guy that has great tenacity, a tremendous motor and things are starting to connect for him," Robinson said. "The one thing he brings to the table is his ability to strike and we've seen that this week."

In addition, junior Michael Aguirre was replaced by returning starter Jose Valdez at offensive tackle.

It was the second move between the players this spring. Valdez opened the spring with the first-team and Aguirre had practiced there for two weeks.

Gregory Absent

Running back Chip Gregory didn't participate in Friday's practice because of a death in the family.

Assistant coach Tim Horton said Gregory will not play today, either, leaving Arkansas' backfield shorthanded for the second straight scrimmage.

But Horton said he is looking for big plays from backs Michael Smith and Brandon Barnett today.

"The one thing that has been a little disappointment and the one thing we got so much of in the past around here is we need some home run hitters," Horton said. "A couple of those guys have the ability to be the guy that can get us the 40-, 50-, 60-yard plays."

Extra Points

Cornerback Jamar Love was sidelined with a leg injury for portions of Friday's practice. Darrell Glasper filled in for Love with the first-team defense. ... Defensive end Jake Bequette spent time with the first-team defense late in practice, replacing Damario Ambrose.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories