Arkansas Holds Physical Practice

FAYETTEVILLE — Running backs and linebackers went head-to-head in a pad-popping tackling drill on one side of the field Wednesday.

On the other side, cornerbacks and wide receivers were locked together in some rugged one-on-one work. And, in the end zone, offensive and defensive linemen were crashing together.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said he wanted physical play and got his wish during the 10th practice of the preseason. The Razorbacks spent most of the workout concentrating on blocking, tackling and hitting in a workout Petrino said was "about being physical."

"We are not where we need to be," he said. "We're not physical enough. We don't tackle well enough and we don't get all 11 guys to the football on every play. But we are getting better."

Petrino said Arkansas concentrated on toughening up its run game, which struggled in short-yardage situations Saturday.

The Razorbacks also were challenging a defense that missed tackles on a handful of big plays during the scrimmage.

"You've got to bring your hard hat every day," defensive end Adrian Davis said. "(Wednesday) he was trying to prove that we're going to come out here with mental toughness and physical toughness."

Both sides will get another chance to get physical when the Razorbacks scrimmage again Friday afternoon.

Petrino said he wants to see improvement after a week in which the Razorbacks installed new things on both sides of the ball. Arkansas will practice some before breaking into the scrimmage Friday.

"I want to see us concentrate and do a better job in the practice before the scrimmage," Petrino said. "The last time we had practice before the scrimmage I got the feeling everyone was saving themselves for when it was live. I want to see our improvement and our concentration on getting better before the scrimmage starts."

Take That

Arkansas quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson tried their hand at something new during the kick return portion of Wednesday's practice: They were part of a scout-team kickoff coverage unit.

Mallett was the first to run downfield to help cover a kick. However, he ran into tight end D.J. Williams and free safety Matt Harris. The double team knocked a surprised Mallett on his back.

"We looked at him and he told us he was going to light us up," Williams said. "So we told him, ‘All right. We might as well show him what's up.' We had a double team on and we put him on his back."

Mallett, who said he enjoyed covering the kicks because it was a nice change of pace at the end of practice, joked that things would've been different if he knew a double team was coming his way.

"That's fine. I can take it," Mallett said with a smile. "But if I would've known they were going to do that, I wouldn't have let them do that. I would've run right through them."

Extra Points

• Running back Dennis Johnson, tight end Chris Gragg (ankle) and receiver Greg Childs did not practice Wednesday. None of the three are expected to scrimmage Friday.

• Petrino said place-kicker Alex Tejada continues to battle with consistency this spring. "When he doesn't hook the ball it's going to go through," Petrino said. "When he does, it's not."

• Coaches and athletes from Rogers High watched from the sideline Wednesday. The contingent included former Arkansas defensive end Jeb Huckeba, who is now teaching and coaching at the school.

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