Tidbits from University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino's Wednesday press conference to go over the recently completed Spring practice.
• Summer school starts on May 19, but the team won't get back into conditioning until the first of June. That's so the players can have a break.
• Six or seven of the signees will be on hand for the first semester, about that many more for a second mini-session begining June 1 and the rest for the second full summer session starting at the end of June, first of July.
• There are the allowed 7 coaches out on the road recruiting and he thinks they are all enjoying things and getting a lot done.
• Made it very clear that he wanted to talk about the players that had gone through practice and not the injured ones who did not.
• He thought senior starting quarterback Casey Dick did a real good job of progressing in the spring. He gave him three goals to hit each week and he did so.
Coach Petrino thought Casey showed the most improvement in the last week before the Red-White game when he distributed the ball well, was very accurate, seemed very comfortbale and really took charge.
• He thought Nathan Dick improved as the spring went along after initially struggling. As he went on his technique and footwork got better.
• Noted that Alex Mortensen was solid, moved the team when he got the chance, looked good in the run game and play-action passing.
• As for as the wide recievers, he thought London Crawford stood out the most. Thought he got comfortable with himself, confortable with the quarterbacks and showed what a strong, physical guy he was.
Petrino thought Crawford's strength is how he can manhandle cornerbacks at the line of scrimmage and his ability to run after catches. Thought he could improve his hands and in catching the deep ball, but said they have stuff for him that will do that.
• Thought Carlton Salters really proved himself to be a guy that could go over the middle and make big catches in traffic. Thinks he (Petrino) needs to work on getting Salters down the field more and utilize him in that regard more than he did in the spring.
• Petrino thought Marques Wade showed some signs of getting better each week, but that he has got to get stronger in his lower body.
• Noted that Rod Coleman was up-and-down and Lucas Miller did a nice job catching the ball, but had to work on his consistency.
• Coach Petrino feels really good about kicker Alex Tejeda and thinks he is solid from 50 on in and any time the Razorbacks get there, it's a sure 3. I actually talked with Alex and he says 55 on in and thinks he could make a last-second one from 60 if needed.
Longest Alex has nailed in practice is 63 in college, 65 in high school (which was with a tee).
• Petrino has Matt Harris as the holder right now and says that while he might not be the best on campus right now, he will be by the end of the summere. Likes the fact that sophomore Tejeda and junior Harris would have two full years together.
• Harris joins Michael Smith as potential punt return guys although Petrino said he will look as some freshman such as Dennis Johnson and De'Anthony Curtis in that spot.
Likes freshman Elton Ford as one of the kickoff returnees in part because he is a strong kid wtih a great stride.
• There was not much work in the spring on special teams coverage and returns because Petrino said there will likely be different players there in the fall and that he didn't want to waste time. Will put a lot of effort into it during the fall.
• Fall practice is scheduled to start Aug. 3 with single practices for the first five days as the players will still be in summer school the first week.
• Coach Petrino said that he didn't want to name freshman that he expected to play but would judge them in two ways:
1) are they physically ready to play?
2) are they mentally ready to play?
• Petrino said he had a lot of fun being back in college with spring practice and he thought fellow former NFL coach Willy Robinson did as well. He said its a joy to help the young guys attain their goals.
• You can tell he absolutely loves tight ends/H-backs DJ Williams and Andrew Davie. Notes he wants to get DJ the ball as much as possible because he can catch it and is hard to bring down when he does.
Thinks Davie is a very good pass catcher as well, that both are great blockers and that are both are two of Arkansas' best players.
• As for fellow tight end Ben Cleveland - who he was asked about - he noted that Cleveland was just having a lot of trouble getting on the field due to being injured. He think if he can get over it, he could help. Thought he did some things they last week of practice and does think he is trying hard.
• Asked about going for it on fourth down in the spring game, Petrino noted that he would do that some during the season, but that it is much easier to do in the spring than the fall.
• There are 12 starters listed on the offense - three WRs, a TE and a FB. Obviously someone will not be on the field.
• Jake Bequette is listed as the starter at one of the DE ahead of Damario Ambrose with Petrino saying it wasn't a surprise to him and that Bequette had earned it.
• Adrian Davis is listed as the starter at the other DE with Antwain Robinson and Donell Sanders backing him up.
Petirno said he feels really good about that group and the DTs althought he does want one young DT (likely LaVunce Askew) to come in and be ready to play.
• Petrino's biggest worries are not with the secondary, but with the LBs - basically no experience and no depth. Asked about Chip Gregory possibly moving back there, he said he did not know and had not seen him play any LB, but that he wanted to see him at RB some more.
Noted that the fact he got hurt on day 3 was the biggest disappointment of the spring for him.
• Asked about suspended linebacker Freddie Fairchild, Petrino said nothing has changed.
• Expects Elston Forte (6-0, 219) to start at one outside LB spot and said that Jerry Franklin (6-2, 229) has the edge at MLB right now omn Jermaine Love (5-11,226). Also likes the speed of Ryan Powers (6-1, 207) and Freddy Burton (6-2, 221) - but is worried about that group.
• Thought tiny CB Darrell Glapser joined Bequette as someone on defense who really came a lot.
• Jerell Norton was not listed on the depth chart. Not enough practice time. He just had surgery, they expect him to play this fall.
• Thinks he has five guys that can play in the secondary - starters Jamar Love and Issac Madison and reserves Shedrick Johnson, Ramon Broadway and Greg Gatson - as well as five
he can count on at safety in starters Dallas Washington and Matt Harris OR Rashaad Johnson along with reserves Bret Harris and Walner LeAndre.
• He has enjoyed visiting with the Razorback Clubs and loved the enthusiasm, but said he "ready to turn that over to Pelphrey now."
• Thought that someone was trying to make sure he wouldn't get any sleep when they put a schedule in big type in front of him at one of the Razorback Club meeting. The toughest stretch per Petrino - Texas, Alabama. Florida and Auburn all in a row.
• He and his staff will be looking forward to a break after recruiting and the camps in early June. Said he will take a vacation, but that he will not be telling anybody where he is going.
• Oh and uniforms. He said he was not ready to talk about them yet.
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