Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino didn't like the way Tuesday's practice started. He didn't wait long before he jump started by raising his voice.
"It was disappointing," he said. "We came back from a hard scrimmage on Saturday, had a couple of days off and I didn't think we had our focus right. We weren't going full speed. We had some guys who it looked like were just trying to get through it. I wanted to make sure they knew we just weren't going to do that."
Some of his disappointment was directed to the defensive side of the ball and that unit seemed to right the ship as the practice progessed. Eventually, some of the problems surfaced on offense.
Petrino said the offense had fared well in Saturday's scrimmage, but some new looks by the defense confused the offense on Tuesday.
"Our timing between the quarterbacks and the receivers -- when they were open -- in our scrimmage was very good," Petrino said of what he saw on film of Saturday's workout. Unfortunately, we added some new plays on offense and we got some new looks on defense and it wasn't as good today."
There were a handful of pass interceptions, by both Casey Dick and Alex Mortensen, in Tuesday's workout.
"Casey has gotten better," Petrino said. "He's improved his technique. His release has gotten better. His timing has been better. The ball has been coming out of his hand quicker. Today wasn't as good.
"I did think the passing game was good at times Saturday. Our execution was good.
"We got some pass rush at times, but it has to be better."
Petrino had praise for the offensive line. He said sophomore guard Wade Grayson is making improvement.
"Grayson did a nice job in our scrimmage," Petrino said. "I think Mitch Petrus is doing well. He's toned down certain things and is focused better on his technique. Jonathan Luigs always does a good job.
"Defensively, Antwain Robinson had his best day at defensive end. He gave us a lot in the pass rush."
Robinson moved ahead of Adrian Davis with the first group at defensive end early in Tuesday's practice. Jake Bequette took all of the snaps at the other defensive end on the first team.
"Bequette is going to be a good player," Petrino said. "He gives you a solid day every day. He's playing well."
Petrino said running back Chip Gregory is "still a little gimpy" from a high ankle sprain, but "looked big in the backfield today. We are hopeful he can get four or five plays in a row on Saturday night and see if he can stay out there."
Petrino continued to praise the defensive secondary. He said defensive coordinator Willie Robinson is "technique oriented" and that makes for daily improvement. At linebacker, Jerry Franklin moved back ahead of Jermaine Love for the starting slot at middle linebacker. Those two have been back and forth throughout the spring.
"We are just inconsistent at linebacker, up and then down," Petrino said. "Those are just young players and they will be good players in time. They have ability. They are just learning. Elston Forte is pretty good at one spot and he's the oldest."
Defensive tackle coach Bobby Allen said the film of the scrimmage revealed solid play at the point of attack from Malcolm Sheppard and Cord Gray, but the pass rush was missing from the inside part of the line.
"We just weren't getting enough push inside on the pass," Allen said. "Cord Gray has really improved against the run. He's an anchor there against the run, but he's got to get better on his pass rush. The thing that's good is that he's at least getting quality work every day. Every snap he's taking, it's against Jonathan Luigs, the Remington Award winner. Hopefully, that will pay some dividends for Cord next season. He's going against a great player every single play since we are ones on ones in most of our work."
Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino saw improvement after watching the film. He said the receivers are getting better production and running better routes. He praised wideout London Crawford and also D. J. Williams, the tight end/H-back.
"We are finding ways to get them the ball," Paul Petrino said. "They are getting better and making plays."
Placement specialist Alex Tejada had another solid practice Tuesday. He didn't miss a kick to end the two-minute drill and nailed several from beyond 50 yards. He said he's adjusting nicely to a new style of football, a Wilson brand that seems a little harder.
"They are all brand new and when you get one right out of the box, they are definitely hard leather," he said. "We have broken them in a little. I like them just fine.
"We are meshing well as a unit. Matt Harris is a good holder. He has done a nice job and it's gone well this spring. I think I've gotten a little more range. I think I'm kicking the ball a little better. The strength staff has gotten me stronger and given me some drills that have helped my legs. I feel very good right now."
Tuesday Grid Update, 4/22
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