As Razorback coaches continue to evaluate freshmen in the 15 extra practices, cornerback Darius Winston is a player that sticks out as showing the most improvement to Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson.
"I think he has made really good strides," Robinson said. "He's got a better understanding and he's become more solid on his technique. He's starting to show some real cover skills that we anticipated and it's just taken him a little longer to get used to the system.
"I think he's got a lot more confident in himself and, shoot, he could play more in some key roles (in the bowl game)."
"There's no hesitation because we're familiar with each other," Robinson said. "Our offense does a good job of giving us issues and problems in the passing game. We shouldn't see anything that we haven't seen throughout the course of these next couple of weeks."
Robinson said the team has fresh legs and is starting to get its strength back having spent more time with the strength coaches. He said he was happy with Malcolm Sheppard's selection to the coaches' all-SEC second team earlier in the day.
"What Malcolm had to overcome this year was that there was no more unknown," Robinson said of Sheppard, who was also named to the second team by the Associated Press Monday. "He was getting doubled quite a bit, regardless of where we lined him up. I don't think he was quite as productive or quite where he needed to be like he was last year. But he was still a guy other teams had to account for, both in the running game and passing game."
Robinson said the team doesn't add new schemes or packages in the bowl practices but "refines". He said the coaches received East Carolina's full-season film Sunday and will have it all broken down by tomorrow.
He said Colton Nash has a bright future but it's unknown which side of the ball he will play on. Robinson said he's worked at both defensive line and tight end this week.
"This is the time we do stuff like that," Robinson said. "It's the time that we ask ourselves if he can be better on the offensive side of the ball or the defensive side of the ball. He's one of those guys that we've kind of agreed at as a staff that we need to see where he needs to be."
Robinson compared the bowl practices to the ones where the coaches bring freshmen out before upperclassmen in the preseason to further evaluate them. The players compared it to spring drills.
Are they more intense?
"Coach Petrino's practices are always really intense," Adrian Davis said. "I don't think you can see a difference in any."
Sophomore linebacker Jerry Franklin missed today's practice taking care of some academic work.