Mallett and Wilson each passed for five touchdowns. Joe Adams caught four of them. But the biggest play of the day came from walk-on running back Mitchell Bailey. The Broken Bow, Okla., product raced through the second defense on an 80-yard TD run.
The offense scored touchdowns on seven of its first eight possessions, then the defense caught up with some stops. The defense then forced a three-and-out, got an Isaac Madison interception, a pass break-up at the goal line in three straight plays when the offense was given a fifth down, then three more three-and-out possessions. The defense would stop the offense without a TD in 12 straight possessions.
Predictably, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino liked some aspects, but he begged for consistency after both quarterbacks cooled. Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson was perturbed at the way his secondary gave up big plays in the passing game, but liked the way the defense settled in later in the day.
There were a few injuries. Tight end Chris Gragg sustained what was believed to be a high ankle sprain. Offensive lineman Seth Oxner, who opened with the first unit at strong guard, left early with a shin bruise. Nose tackle Zack Stadther sustained a neck injury, although he walked from the field and later to the locker room. Running back Dennis Johnson did not practice because of a foot injury that Petrino said is still hard to figure because of swelling.
There were a lot of big numbers to digest in the scrimmage, which lasted well over two hours, and it should be noted that Mallett worked primarily with the first unit and Wilson was with the second group in an interesting battle that seems to be warming at quarterback.
Mallett completed 12 of his first 15 passes, including seven straight to start the day. But his final numbers weren't as good. He was 21-46-1 for 360 yards and five TDs. Almost all of that was with the first unit.
Wilson had a similar day. He completed 11 of his first 14 then also cooled a bit. He finished with 17-27-1 for 360 yards. He also had five TDs.
Jim Youngblood, the third QB, was 5-10-0 for 58 yards. Things weren't so smooth for Youngblood because of some trouble with the center exchange and breakdowns in protection. He was working with a mixture of twos and threes (there are not really enough OLs for a third team line) against the third defense.
In the running game, Bailey had 12 carries for 109 yards with the 80-yard run to start his day. His longest run after that was 8 yards.
Running back De'Anthony Curtis did not score a touchdown, but had 15 carries for 92 yards. His longest runs were 25 and 22 yards. Broderick Green had 17 carries for 17 yards. Most all of his carries were in short-yardage situations around the goal line or on third-and-short. Adrian Moore had 11 carries for 34 yards.
The receivers had a big day, obviously. But there were five to seven drops depending on who you ask. There might have been several more that were catchable, but a blustery crosswind made things tough at times.
Here are the receiving numbers: Joe Adams 7-160 with TD catches of 45, 25, 26 and 10 yards. Jarius Wright 8-160 with TD catches of 26 and 44 yards. He had a 58-yarder that wasn't a TD. London Crawford 4-121 with a TD of 67 yards. London had several fine catches in a good day. Reggie Fish 4-124, including TD catches of 47 and 40 yards. Carlton Salters 4-69, TD catch of 25 yards. D.J. Williams 4-34. De'Anthony Curtis 1-8. Chris Gragg 2-25. Broderick Green 3-20. Ben Cleveland 2-17. Van Stumon 1-2. Joseph Henry 1-6. Austin Tucker 2-25.
Tackle leaders: Wendel Davis 9 tackles, 1 sack. Matt Harris had 8 tackles, Andru Stewart had 7.
"It was a good scrimmage," Petrino said. "We competed hard. We obviously have a lot of work to do on our consistent execution. That will be what we look for next week, to get more consistent.
"Offensively, we came out and started fast and made some big plays, broke tackles, caught the ball and ran with the ball after the catch.
"Mitchell Bailey's run was as good a run as there is. He split both safeties and bounced off and took it to the end zone, so that helps. It helps the competitiveness of the positions.
"The defense came back in the middle to late part of the scrimmage and stopped the run. That's one thing offensively we are not happy about. We didn't run the ball late in the scrimmage. You are happy about the defense that they were flying around, stopping the run.
"Basically, it has to come down to consistency on both sides of the ball, finishing strong. It will be a great video. We got a lot of plays on video. We will be able to get a lot of work on video study and find out a lot about our players.
"We have taken a lot of strides in two weeks and we have two weeks to go. We have to continue to do that.
"We will come back and install some more, put some new scheme in and then we'll see who can go from there. It was a little bit different this week. I didn't put a lot in this week. I wanted to go back to last week's (installation) and get better at it and I really think we did that, particularly defensively, in understanding what we are doing and offensively executing some of the deep passing game.
"We didn't have Dennis Johnson. He has a foot injury. I'm not sure how bad it is. There is so much swelling right now. We probably won't know until midweek how bad it is whether he will be back for spring ball or not. We are getting a little bit thin and we have to just keep working hard."
Do the problems with the running game have more to do with the defensive line doing good things, or the offensive line struggling?
"Both," Petrino said. "It's a combination of the offensive line learning how to work together, learning how to see some things. We've allowed the defense to move the front a little bit more than I have in the spring because I think the offensive line has to block movement more. What we saw last year, we got a lot of movement from defensive fronts.
"Some of it is that the safeties are doing a much better job of reading the run and coming to the front and fitting in the holes where they belong. There are not big creases. Even on the one that Mitchell broke, both safeties were right where they belong, they just didn't make the tackle. He out-hit them."
Aside from Bailey's long run, what else did Petrino see that he liked from him?
"I've always liked him," Petrino said. "I liked him last year when he was a walk-on, true freshman and played fullback for us. He's gotten himself bigger and stronger. He's very competitive. He needs to learn how to stay healthy. That's one of the things, he missed a couple of practices early in the week because he needs to stay healthy.
"He's a guy I like a lot because he can play running back, he can play fullback and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Probably the thing I was most impressed about today was his ability to protect the passer. He stepped up and took the blitzer on three times and did a real nice job with it."
Adams had seven catches for 153 yards with TD catches of 45, 25, 26 and 10 yards.
"That's what we were talking about consistency," Petrino said. "He made some great plays and some unbelievable plays after the catch (with) his ability to run with the ball, and that was real exciting. Then, he had three drops all in a row. He needs to be consistent and we need to get him the ball. He's electrifying with the ball under his hand. He looked at times like the quickest player out there running with the football."
Petrino saw good things from both Mallett and Wilson.
"Ryan got off to a fast start," Petrino said. "I thought he did a nice job in his preparation and his focus and then he had a little lull in there where he missed some throws. He needs to relax a little bit and not get down on himself. He's his worst enemy. He expects so much from himself that when he makes a mistake or a bad throw, he's not able to put it behind him and move on.
"Tyler is doing some real nice things. He's throwing the ball well and moving the pocket. He has to be able to handle the blitz -- that's his biggest thing -- and continue playing the position from underneath the center. I'm not happy at all when there is any -- zero -- quarterback-center exchange problems. We had way too many today and that's Tyler being able to take it from the individual work, to the group work, to the scrimmage. He hasn't been able to do that yet. He made some great throws today."
Wade Grayson is the first-team center after playing guard last year. How has he performed?
"He's doing a good job," Petrino said. "There is a lot of new for him. It's a lot different. He has to learn how to play the position. He has to learn how to be a little sneakier, nastier in there and certainly handle all the calls. The first week of making all the calls and recognizing the fronts slowed him down. Then, this week when he gets that behind him, he needs to continue to learn the position and get better at it."
Injury-wise, there were three players who went down in the scrimmage. Seth Oxner hurt his leg, Chris Gragg sustained a high ankle sprain and Zack Stadther left with what appeared to be a neck strain.
"I know Gragg's X-rays were negative," Petrino said. "It looked like a high ankle sprain. With Oxner, it looked like a contusion in his shin. Zack dinged his neck so they got him out right away."
Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson didn't like the start of the scrimmage, but was happier with the progress as the action went along.
"We still haven't started fast," Robinson said. "We talked about that Wednesday. You get hit in the mouth, how do you respond?
"I can't tell you where it was in the scrimmage, but we finally started settling down.
"Throughout the day, the thing I was most disappointed with was our tackling. Once it got into the secondary, I thought our tackling was poor and there were too many big plays.
"Somewhere along the way we started getting more consistent and getting a flow and started playing a lot better. There is still that consistency we are concerned about. We don't want that ebb and flow. It's a matter of starting out and getting in a rhythm and make sure we are attacking all of the time.
"I thought we had position on the back end and just couldn't make plays. I thought we did some things back there where we were getting more positive to receivers, more positive to routes and when the ball was being thrown we were not finishing plays. So that's what I was concerned about because it was hurting us early.
"I was watching the back end and counting in my head. Sometimes I got to five or six and the ball wasn't thrown. That doesn't speak positive for our rush. But, we are slowly getting into the position where we run hard to the ball and tackle and be tough through the whole day."
Tramain Thomas grabbed one of the interceptions for the second defense. How did he perform compared to other days?
"He didn't flash like he did before, so it must mean he was pretty consistent," Robinson said. "He was doing his job and all of a sudden the ball was in his area and he made the play. If you do your job and are in position, okay, those plays will come to you. I think he had a pretty good day."
How many blitzes did the defense bring and in what part of the scrimmage did they come?
"We went into the day," Robinson said, "each series we'd play our base series, then the next series we'd play one-third pressure, then the next series we were going to call it up, mix it up with base, man and pressures. We went into the scrimmage thinking we were going to pressure at least one-third of the time."
How did the front seven handle the passing game?
"I couldn't tell you because I have a set of eyes watching that, and I watch the back end," he said. "I do know we gave up the deep ball too much. I don't know how they did all the time with those elements. I thought sometimes the timing of our pressures was decent. Sometimes they picked up the pressure pretty good and then all of a sudden the cover aspects were pretty good. So there were positives in both areas."
The big run by Bailey had Robinson upset.
"Our pursuit angles and our running to the ball were not there. We are still not clean on our run fits," he said.
"I was really disappointed in that long run. What is really scary -- and that was Bailey right -- that was a fullback-type body that was making that run. What's scary on that is the back end didn't close on him to make the tackle. That's good for him, but his speed isn't something that overwhelms the back end. We have to get down there and make the tackle. We didn't fit it and didn't run to the ball full speed there."
The offense started hot, but what happened midway through the scrimmage?
"We started off real well, but we can't go down in the middle and come back up," Ryan Mallett said. "We have to stay on a straight and narrow line and keep moving.
"I lost my technique and I have to stay with my technique. I do that and we will be fine."
Mallett smiled when someone mentioned the blustery wind.
"It's never the wind's fault," he said. "It's on us. We have to adjust to it."
There were a lot of deep balls.
"As long as we can stretch the field, our running game and our short passing game is going to open up," Mallett said. "That's what we were looking to do and I think we accomplished that.
"We got a lot better this whole week. I think we got better offensively and defensively. The defense started off a little slow, but they picked it up in the middle. That's one reason we got a little slower on offense, they picked it up. Once we picked it back up, we were ready to go."
Was the offense revved up Saturday morning?
"Yeah, we were upset about Wednesday's scrimmage," Mallett said. "We didn't come out with enough fire (Wednesday) and that's one of the reasons I think we were more focused and prepared. I think that's what happens when we prepare well, we play very well."
Petrino wants Mallett to relax.
"I'm my own hardest critique," Mallett said. "I make a bad play, I can't let it hang with me. I have to move on. A couple of times I let it hang with me. I can't do that."
How would Mallett rate Saturday's performance.
"I haven't watched the film so I wouldn't give it any letter grade," he said. "But I think we improved a lot since last week and that's what we have to keep doing. We want to be a good football team."
Tyler Wilson was pleased with the scrimmage, especially the number of reps he got on the day.
"It was good for me to get out there and get as many reps as we did," Wilson said. "We got a lots of reps. Everybody did. I think that's just, being on the field and playing time, is the thing that's going to be the biggest help. I thought it went well. Much improvement is needed. But it was all right today."
There was one interception, a pass down the middle that Tramain Thomas moved outside to grab at safety.
"They played a defense that I wasn't expecting," Wilson said. "That, and the safety was a little wider. I thought I could squeeze it in. It's not where I should've went with the ball. We'll see it on film and make adjustments and do right the next time we call it."
Wilson hooked up with Adams for several big plays.
"Joe is a guy that's got a knack for getting open," Wilson said. "It just so happened the defense, the coverage took me to his side a few times. He just so happened to make plays when I got him the ball. He's that kind of player. You always want to put it in his hands and see what he can do with it."
On the drops by Adams, Wilson said he will continue to go back to his wideout.
"He makes plays to compensate for those," Wilson said. "He'll drop some balls at times, but you see the big plays he makes, too. I try to give him the ball as much as possible."
Wilson was in the same class with the wideouts who made most of the plays Saturday. What does he see from them?
"They're making progress," Wilson said. "Offseason, they've done well in the weight room. They've gotten bigger, physically stronger. Those guys are going to be tremendous for us this year. They're going to improve. They got a lot of playing time last year, which will just help them. i look forward to seeing what they're going to do come game time."
The scrimmage started fast, but the defense rallied.
"The defense started blitzing a little more the mid part of practice," Wilson said. "They were more in base stuff the first part. We see what they ran and just go and execute the offense. I think what we've got to get better at is learning the details and understand defense and making the checks. (If) we get that part down, we're going to be pretty successful."
Some might have worn down as the long hitting session went along.
"There is (some fatigue factor)," he said, "but I think that's what they want to put us through is that, you're going to get tired from games. Let's see how you push through that adversity when you're fighting through tiredness and everything else that comes along with it. They try to put us in those situations and see how we deal with it and i think we did all right today."
Wilson had a big week.
"I think the first week we installed quite a bit of offense," he said. "The second week we went back and reinstalled it. It was a chance to go back and go over the details and I think this week was much more crisp for me. I felt much more confident. and i think that's really the defining factor."
He hasn't faced the first defense much, but did get a couple of cracks at it Saturday.
"I'd gotten a few sets earlier this week that's good getting in there," he said. "I think we've got to mix up the center rotation a little bit. It's tough changing centers. Especially if you're familiar with a second group guy. That's something we've got to work on this next week is taking snaps from, whether it be Wade Grayson or Seth Oxner, all those guys."
Wilson knows what the coaching philosophy is on bad plays.
"My perception on things, what they try to tell us is, keep the ball in your hand and if the play is not working out right, try to get us in the huddle the next play and not give up the big negative," he said. "That's really what we teach and what separates the good quarterbacks from the bad. when a bad play comes along, get yourself back in the huddle and run another one."
Adams thought his "catches made up for the drops, but I can't have that many drops. We throw the ball so much in this offense that the next play could come right back to me so I have to be ready."
What was the key to the fast start?
"Coach got us riled up at the meeting room before we came out," he said. "If we attack them, we have a pretty good chance."
What caused the lull?
"I think everybody was getting a little tired," he said. "Coach preaches to us that we have to work through adversity. We came out at the end and that's when it really matters in the fourth quarter."
Adams broke tackles and made defenders missed on some of his long plays.
"I'm used to having to juke two or three guys," he said. "One of the catches I didn't have to juke anybody. I'm used to making those kinds of plays."
Jarius Wright said the offense was ready for a hot start.
"It meant a lot knowing we can come out and play like we did," Wright said. "I'm not going to say the defense was slow or playing bad or anything, the offense just came out and played real good. The quarterback was putting the ball right on the money. Receivers had good timing and it just worked out well for us today.
"It meant a lot. After Wednesday's scrimmage we all met as an offense and we had a talk saying we couldn't come out and play like we did. We started out real slow and when you start out real slow, it doesn't equal anything good. we just tried to come out today and start fast and it paid off.
"Receivers catching the ball like we were, the offensive line blocking like they were, the running backs running like they were, and the quarterbacks putting it on the money like they were means a lot for our offense. You saw today how we were moving the ball around. Everbody got their touches. Everybody was scoring. If we can bring that into the season, we're going to be pretty unstoppable."
Bailey's big day means he'll probably get more chances.
"It's a great example of taking advantage of an opportunity when it comes your way," said Tim Horton, who coaches the running backs. "He did that today and he's getting himself into a position to play more and more."
The Hogs struggled some on the goal line.
"It's not as good as we need to be," Horton said. "We got it in, but a lot of times it took us four whacks at it. So hey, let's get it in on first down from the two instead of fourth down from the one. That's an aspect we've still got to improve on. That's where Broderick Green comes into play. He's got to keep his pads down and get the ball in the end zone no matter what the blocking is like."
Also watch Mitchell Bailey talk about his big day.