Defense Improves During Scrimmage

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson, linebacker Jerry Franklin and free safety Matt Harris all shared the same thought Friday night.

The defense, after being roasted for big plays throughout the first half of Saturday's scrimmage, looked much improved during the scrimmage inside the Walker Pavilion.

"We were happy because it was Friday," Franklin said. "So we just were ready to come out here and fly around and make some plays. ... I felt like we did that (Friday)."

Arkansas' first-team group was particularly stubborn, limiting the offense to two touchdowns on nine possessions. One of the scores capped a 12-play drive on the third series. The second came late, when Tyler Wilson hit receiver Joe Adams for a 45-yard touchdown.

But in between, the first-team defense applied pressure on Arkansas' quarterbacks, broke up passes, delivered several big hits and exhibited plenty of energy.

"That's how we have to play defense," Harris said. "We came out so much better from the start. That was our goal, to start fast. Last week we were really disappointed with the way we came out the first two or three series."

The performance wasn't as solid for the second-team unit, which still gave up big plays in the secondary.

Robinson said the group was inconsistent and it showed on 80-, 42-, 36-yard touchdown passes. But it did collect two interceptions when safety Chris Raggett and linebacker Jermaine Love got their hands on Wilson's passes.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said the defense's improvement resulted in a "good battle" throughout the scrimmage. He said it was a sign that the Razorbacks are getting closer to becoming the team they intend.

Harris said the defense was glad to answer the challenge after being frustrated last weekend.

"We prided ourselves on the way we came out this week," Harris said. "We carried it over. We didn't just start fast and end bad. We carried it through the whole four quarters."



Big Play Joe

Adams turned in another big performance in Friday's scrimmage, catching 5 passes for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns. It came less than a week after Adams caught four touchdown passes in Saturday's scrimmage.

"This was our last scrimmage before our big scrimmage," Adams said of his motivation. "Coach got us pumped up a little bit in the meeting room. We just came out, and I felt it was a great scrimmage for the whole team."

Adams grabbed his first touchdown on a 36-yard pass from Wilson against the second-team defense. His second score, another pass from Wilson, came on the 45-yarder against the first-team group.

But Adams wasn't completely satisfied. He had a chance for a third touchdown, but dropped a pass in the end zone.

"I had a key drop in the end zone," Adams said. "But I've got to put that behind me."



Extra Points

• Another running back, Dennis Johnson, who missed the week with an injury, took part in some individual drills before the scrimmage began. Horton said it was "encouraging" and said Johnson could return next week.

• Receiver Greg Childs also returned to practice after missing the week with an illness. The sophomore caught 2 passes for 24 yards in the scrimmage.

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