Mallett fired a couple of long strikes on difficult patterns to wow the crowd and leave assistant coach John L. Smith to note afterwards that "this is still Ryan Mallett's team. He brings so much leadership and other things besides his arm to this team."
Smith said others have "picked up the slack" as far as overall play at quarterback.
"But there is only so much all of those guys can do," Smith said. "What we miss is that leadership."
It wasn't a great day for the quarterbacks in other areas. Nick Petrino, working with the second team in Brandon Mitchell's absence, had four pass interceptions. Jacoby Walker also threw an interception. Darius Winston had two and Dustin Cain two.
A pass interception in team drills was not the fault of a quarterback. Greg Childs had Rudell Crim beat deep and the ball came to him in stride. Childs mishandled the pass with it bouncing up, then behind him, off a back foot and it popped up to Crim trailing around 5 yards behind the play for an interception.
Mitchell is still at home dealing with the death of a family member. He missed Tuesday's practice, too.
There seemed to be one addition to the injury list. Defensive end Colton Nash was sitting out with an apparent minor injury to a leg. Midway through the workout Caleb Evans, also a defensive end, had to go to the sidelines with an apparent shoulder injury.
The Hogs spent a good portion of the early stages of the practice in a one-on-one tackling drill, apparently after not tackling so well last Friday in a scrimmage.
"You need to do some of that, but you can't do a whole lot," said Smith, who coaches the outside linebackers and special teams. "It's good to go live against our running backs, draw a line and say you can't let them past here. I thought it was a good drill and a good test for our linebackers, safeties and backs.
"We do it every spring. We'll probably do it one more time. You need it, but you can't do too much. You make it as realistic as you can. We do tackling drills, but most times it's tackling yourself (other defensive players) and this is better. I think we improved a bunch. Seeing speed really helps you. We are trying to be more physical. What we did today was a good toughening up drill."
Smtih was asked if the high number of interceptions in Wednesday's practice was a good sign for the defense.
"I don't know," he said. "I think it was a pretty good day, but we won't know until we watch the tape. I hope it was an indication that we were in the right places maybe a little more."
It appeared that the quarterbacks through into coverage on a couple of the interceptions, but one of them was a diving snag by Cain that drew applause from the stands. He left his feet on an out pattern and caught it with his body extended.
Smith said Bret Harris has improved his play at outside linebacker.
"Harris has done a great job," Smith said. "He's improved his speed and he has become more physical. He's able to cut it loose a little better."
Harris is behind Jerico Nelson at the outside linebacker spot.
"Those are the top two and with Harris we don't have to leave Jerico out there for snap after snap and maybe take some punishment off of him when they are trying to run it down inside," Smith said. "Harris has done a good job, but I don't want to give him too much sugar."
Smith was asked about the plans for Jerry Franklin. He's missed a good portion of spring to concentrate on weight lifting.
"Jerry is trying to get bigger, bigger, bigger," Smith said. "He's going to be back in there."
What position do they plan for Franklin?
"He's at strong, but he could be at either one of the inside spots," Smith said. "He's going to be in there."
The Hogs tried to work on punt returns, but it was difficult because of the varied nature of punter Dylan Breeding's punts. Some were boomers and some were short.
"We wanted to get all of the punt returners a good look, but some of them they really went a long way," Smith said. "He was booming them so far we couldn't catch them."
Smith said the punt return candidates are Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, Cobi Hamilton and Dennis Johnson.
"We are still working with those," he said. "If we had to pick one right now, I'd say it would be Wright."
The Hogs have gotten a good dose of special teams in every practice. Ross Rasner is on several coverage units in special teams.
"We ask our best players to be on the field as much as possible," Smith said. "We ask that of all of our guys. It doesn't matter if they are starters or not. He was on the field in special teams last year. He wasn't a starter then.
"Rasner is one of our better players, although he's still a pup, just a legit sophomore. He can run, he's a tough guy and he brings all of those qualities to our special teams."