Offense Struggles During Scrimmage

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas' offense showed plenty of firepower on Saturday, when Ryan Mallett and a slew of running backs turned in big plays and scored several touchdowns during the Razorbacks' first spring scrimmage.

Four days later, it looked completely different.

Arkansas' offense — particularly the first-team unit — struggled throughout Wednesday's 111-play scrimmage in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The problems, which included interceptions, sacks, batted balls, and a struggling run game left Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino disappointed.

"The offense made some big plays, but made mistakes and cost themselves some touchdowns and had to settle for a bunch of field goals," Petrino said.

The first-team offense scored one touchdowns on nine possessions. It didn't reach the end zone until running back Dennis Johnson scored on the seventh possession.

Mallett, who completed 17 of 30 passes for 199 yards, threw two interceptions without a touchdown. Both picks came off tipped balls grabbed by safety Jerico Nelson.

"We came out pretty sluggish," Mallett said about the offense. "We can't do that and we know that. We've got to look in the mirror and get better as a unit."

The second-team offense enjoyed more success with quarterback Tyler Wilson under center. Wilson completed 16 of 30 passes for 272 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for another touchdown.

Wilson, who faced the second-team defense, completed his first two passes to tight ends Ben Cleveland (25 yards) and Chris Gragg (45 yards). He threw touchdown passes to Cleveland (5 yards) and receiver Greg Childs (20 yards).

But Wilson was one of the only bright spots on a disappointing day for the offense.

Petrino said he was especially disappointed in the run game, which failed to break off big plays after turning in several during its the scrimmage last Saturday.

"I didn't think we played very fast," he said.

Defensive A Strength

A poor performance by the offense meant something else Wednesday: The defense had a lot to smile about.

"I thought the defense had the upper hand," Petrino said.

Defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard collected one of the Razorbacks' three sacks. Nelson (2) and cornerback Jerell Norton combined for three interceptions. And defensive tackle Alfred Davis had one of several tipped passes.

In addition, Arkansas broke up a handful of passes and limited running backs to 103 yards on 38 carries.

Nelson said it was a nice change from last Saturday.

"We competed," Nelson said. "We got hands on balls. We tackled better. We had some interceptions. ... (Wednesday) was a pretty good day for the defense."

RazorFest Plans Announced

Former Arkansas running back Felix Jones and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus are scheduled to attend this year's RazorFest, which will be held at Reynolds Razorback Stadium before the Red-White Game on April 18.

RazorFest, which consists of a number of family-friendly attractions, will be held from noon to 5:30 p.m. on Arkansas campus. The Red-White Spring Game begins at 6 p.m.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said at a news conference Wednesday he hopes the attendance for this year's spring festivities exceeds the 40,000 from 2009.

Extra Points

FS Matt Harris left the scrimmage with an apparent shoulder injury. He was replaced by Tramain Thomas, who was praised by Petrino for his tackling ability. ... RB Adrian Moore returned after missing Tuesday's practice. He ran for 28 yards on seven carries. ... Place-kickers Alex Tejada and Cameron Bryan combined to make four field goals during the scrimmage. That included a 49-yarder by Tejada.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories