After a less than positive start to Saturday, the Razorback football team was back in their head coach's good graces by the end of the day.
That was because of a sharp 90-minute indoor practice on Saturday afternoon – a stark contrast from starting Saturday morning with running after some players had been late for breakfast.
"They came out with a lot of energy that second practice," Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. "I thought we played faster. We didn't install anything new today so we actually played faster and got a lot done in a short period of time."
That's exactly what he was looking for on a rainy Saturday afternoon that forced the team off the outdoor practice fields and what he will hoping for a similar effort in Sunday's major scrimmage at 9 a.m.
"We look for execution," Petrino said. "We want to see guys that do what we ask them to do. We want to see guys playing at full speed, running hard to the ball on defense, executing on offense. We'll really look at that and evaluate the players and see who we can count and who we don't think we can count on.
"Then we will get an idea of what we need to do from here – what our strengths are, what do we do well, what do we continue to work on, what do we throw out," Petrino added.
This will be a scrimmage that will see the first team offense and defense butting heads more than any other time.
"This is the time to do it," Petrino said. "This scrimmage is the time to go 1s and 1s. The next scrimmage probably half and half and then after that you round it up and go 1s vs 2s."
As for number of plays, the spring scrimmages went anywhere from 150 to 180 plays.
"I guess we'll just have to wait and see," Petrino said of the number of plays on Sunday. "A lot of times we schedule it for 8 to 10-play series and then we rotate the 2s for 8 to 10-play series. I am not very good in math I guess because we always go a little bit past 8 to 10."
One spot that will be looked at closely is left guard where Wade Grayson got the first team snaps on Saturday ahead of Mitch Petrus.
"It was just a day that we needed to look at him with the 1s," Petrino said. "He jumped in there in front of Petrus and that will be great competition there. That will be one thing we'll do tomorrow. They will both work with the 1s. I think we will have to use three guards throughout the season and Wade Grayson will be one of them."
Defensive end Jake Bequette, wideout Joe Adams and tight end D.J. Williams all missed practice on Saturday.
"I'm not sure they will be back for the scrimmage tomorrow, but it is nothing serious," Petrino said. "They will certainly be back Monday for practice."
Speaking of the injury front, Petrino was all smiles about Brandon Lampkin, who was diagnoised with a cervical spinal sprain.
There was no timetable given for his return, but Petrino noted that the young man who was taken by ambulance from the field on Friday had given his team a lift.
"It certainly was good news on Brandon," Petrino said. "He spent a lot of time at the emergency room last night, but he is doing well and was at lunch today smiling. It was good for the players to see him last night when they came out of their meetings. He was there when they came out and that relieved a lot of stress on everybody."
O o o
…The practice started with a completed bomb from Casey Dick to Carlton Salters and included several catches from standout freshman Jarius Wright.
…Dick was very on target with his passes on Saturday afternoon.
…Tailbacks Michael Smith, De'Anthony Curtis and Dennis Johnson all continue to shine.
Chip Gregory had his moments, but also fumbled twice while Brandon Barnett continues to rehab and not see action.
…The practices continue to go at rapid fire pace with two groups – on both offense and defense - working quickly in team drills to get off a maximum amount of plays in a minimum amount of time.
…The end of practice featured a lot of the freshmen going against each other along with some older guys coming off injury needing work like tight end Ben Cleveland.
…The parents of Pulaski Academy wideout Neal Barlow (6-7, 200) took in practice on Saturday afternoon.
Barlow has his choice down to Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.