Friday Grid Update, 4/25

Arkansas went without pads Friday, but what was billed as a walk through workout was still plenty fast and intense as the Hogs head for their spring game Saturday.

Arkansas worked for about 75 minutes Friday afternoon in what was advertised as a "walk through," but it was just a shorter version of the first 13 spring workouts, without pads. Intensity was at a high level and the team went through a crisp workout that featured another emphasis on technique, fundamentals and another heavy dose of the passing game.

Coaches and playes were not available to the media, but media was allowed to watch the intense workout in Walker Pavilion. Heavy afternoon rains left the practice field too wet for an afternoon workout, much like the rest of the spring.

The team stretched in typical fashion, but when they broke from the huddle they all came out with the yell, "Show Time!!!" That's in reference to the key phrase head coach Bobby Petrino uses for game day. Coaches have emphasized that Saturday night's Red-White game, set for 6 p.m. in Reynolds Razorback Stadium, will be Show Time just as it will be for the 12 games next season.

The squad worked on pass protection drills in the early portions of the practice pitting blockers -- backs and tight ends -- against the rushing linebackers. There was also a long period featuring 7-on-7 passing drills and then another with run and pass sets in 11-on-11 sets.

Just as earlier practices this spring, the Friday workout matched the ones on offense against the ones on defense. That will change Saturday night when the ones will play against the twos and threes in a game setting.

Along with Razorfest activities scattered throughout Saturday, the weekend is also part of the UA lettermen's reunion. A golf outing set for Friday afternoon at Paradise Valley was halted because of thunderstorms about 90 minutes into the event. Some of the lettermen filtered into Walker Pavilion for the finals parts of the practice. The lettermen also have a fish fry set for the lettermen's club in the stadium for Friday night.

Among those back for the lettermen's reunion, former quarterback Clint Stoerner -- set to fill the role as color TV analyst for the spring game -- talked of the excitement on the weekend.

"I remember my first two years here, it was dead, really down," Stoerner said. "There was no excitement, then it started to come back the last two years. There was a lot of hype with the last team and that got the stadium construction going. The hype and excitement is a key.

"I came here hoping to build some excitement. I made my visit to a basketball game and it was right after the back-to-back Final Fours with Nolan Richardson. You could feel the excitement and hype for basketball and I wanted to come here to bring that to football. We did eventually.

"Now, you have that same kind of excitement. The hype is back. The excitement is back. I feel it as I'm here today. I've felt it around the state the last few weeks.

"I've been around Coach Petrino some -- and there was a meeting today that I attended to get ready for the broadcast -- where we went over some things. He's very detailed, very good. He's been very good to be around."

Stoerner said it's obvious that the system and philosophy is different than many coaches.

"You have a definite shift," he said. "Some want the run to set up the pass. I can sense that this system has the pass setting up the run. He still wants to run the ball and be tough and strong in the ground game. But it's going to be the pass setting up the run.

"That's what the excitement is about. But I can also tell you that he's a very good coach in all respects."

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