Arkansas worked for a little over two hours in full pads Tuesday morning. Cool temperatures led to fierce hitting in some one-on-one tackling drills early in the day, then again in a goal line scrimmage to end the workout, the only one scheduled on the day.
Quarterback Casey Dick was sharp during the passing portions of the drill, including some TD passes to wrap up the goal line drill -- after the defense stuffed some runs to start that drill. Tailback Chip Gregory lost two fumbles during the goal line work. It was those two fumbles that were fresh on the mind of head coach Bobby Petrino when someone asked after practice about the good work Gregory showed in Sunday's scrimmage.
"(I) didn't like the way he practiced today," Petrino said of Gregory. "We can't have the ball on the ground. That's the one thing we all need to learn, is to be consistent. Put the scrimmage behind you, come out here the next day and get better in practice. And some of us haven't quite learned that yet."
Brandon Barnett worked at near full speed in practice after spending the first week in rehab battling back from late spring knee surgery. Barnett asked to step into the live work on the goal line after practice, but the head coach said he wasn't ready for such a heavy dose of contact.
"It was good to have him back," Petrino said. "He did a real good job, I think, of rehabbing the last couple of weeks and getting into shape. I didn't let him in there in the live goalline drill. He wanted to, but that was too early for him. But it's good to have him back. We're going to need him throughout the season, and when you go back and watch the spring game, I really like the way he ran in the spring game. He showed a lot of physicalness and ran down hill well."
Is Barnett playing catch up?
"Yeah, it will be a lot of catchup for him," Petrino said. "He's got to prove he can take their reps away and prove that he understands what he's doing in the passing game and in protection."
There was a good bit of passing to the backs throughout the practice. Dennis Johnson, De'Anthony Curtis, Michael Smith, Johnson and Barnett all made impressive catches.
"Our running backs can catch the ball — all of them — and they adjust well to the ball," Petrino said. "I think that's as big as the hands, is being able to open your hips, adjust well the ball is behind you, adjust when it's high and keep your balance. And they can all do that.
"We're going to need to utilize them in the passing game. The more we can get them the ball in the passing game, the more it's going to open up the receivers down the field."
Petrino prasied the work of redshirt quarterback Ryan Mallett.
"He's got a great attitude, and he'll have a good redshirt year," Petrino said. "He's learning, he's working hard on his technique. I thought he improved (Monday) in some of our pass (skeleton) drills that we did, just his balance. One thing Ryan has to learn is how not to throw the full hummer everytime. He doesn't need to throw that 98-mile-an-hour fastball everytime, so he's working on when to take something off the ball and that helps the catchers."
Like a good pitcher, can he deliver the change-up throw?
"No change-up yet, but we're working on the off-speed," Petrino said. "We don't want the change-up; we just want that off-speed."
Jerry Franklin, first team at middle linebacker, had another sold workout. He was among the best in the one-on-one hitting to start the full pads practice. He also grabbed an interception later in the workout when the Hogs were working 11 against 11.
Tuesday Grid Update, 8/12
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