Petrino: Skeptical on Spring Decision

Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino isn't sure he'd stick with the same plan for spring. Quarterback Jacoby Walker rehabbing knee injury.

Bobby Petrino liked the competition that was produced by splitting his team evenly for the Red-White game, but he remains "skeptical" because it might have hurt execution.

The Arkansas head coach met with the media for about 20 minutes Monday evening before his visit with the Northwest Arkansas Razorback Club at Bentonville High School. He said his film evaluation of the game still revealed lots of positives and capped a productive spring.

"There was some good in the competition that we got from breaking up the team that way," Petrino said. "It's the first time I've done it. I've wanted to try it, but we've never had the depth at cornerback or running back to play a game like that.

"I'm still a little skeptical about it. I watched the video and we had protection problems and that hurt (quarterback Tyler Wilson). Anytime you take the offensive line and split it up, you are not going to have the execution you want. The bad protection put Tyler in difficult situations. I did think he made some good decisions, but the Red team was never in good rhythm and the reason was the turnovers."

Petrino revealed that the play calling with the white offense was designed to keep the Red team off the field.

"We tried to keep the ball away from the Red," said Petrino, who called the White plays with offensive coordinator Garrick McGee making the calls for the Red. "We wanted to be real patient and run the ball. It worked. The White had about 70 plays to 40 for the Red."

Petrino praised the other quarterbacks in the game, but noted true freshman Jacoby Walker sustained a hyper extended knee in the closing minutes.

"Jacoby had a nice scrimmage, but unfortunately he injured his knee," Petrino said. "There is some concern with it. We are going to rehab it the next two weeks and he'll take his finals. Then, we'll take a look and see what needs to be done. He was over striding and hurt it. It's certainly a problem."

Sophomore running back Knile Davis sustained a broken collarbone. He underwent surgery Sunday. He'll have a four-week rehab.

"It's the same injury that London Crawford and Lucas Miller had, his clavicle," Petrino said. "He won't miss much."

Petrino also said quarterback Ryan Mallett and defensive end Tenarius Wright both had X-rays on Monday. Both missed the spring with broken bones in their foot. Both are close to 100 percent and all test results were good. He said they may have been done with their rehab, but extra precautions were taken during spring break.

"We had them in a boot for four weeks, but when they went home for spring break we decided not to take any chances while we couldn't watch them and just put them in full casts," Petrino said. "We knew then that they wouldn't do anything to it. They are both doing really well. We probably were a little conservative with them."

Offensive tackle Anthony Oden went down briefly in the scrimmage.

"Oden isn't hurt," Petrino said. "He was just tired. He had a good game. He did well."

Petrino said he doesn't like finishing spring drills so late in the semester and so close to final exams.

"We were a week later than I like because the state set spring break later in the year," he said. "If it falls this late again next year, we'll start spring practice earlier and have three or four days before the break so we won't be like this. We are doing well in our academics, but I don't like this."

Petrino was asked about the depth chart for the quarterbacks.

"Ryan is number one," Petrino said, with a smile and laughs from the media. "We'll let those other guys compete in the fall and all will get a lot of reps. Tyler had a good spring and he knows the offense a lot better than he did in the fall.

"It was the first time Brandon Mitchell had the opportunity to compete. He was doing well and that week he missed (because of the death of his uncle) might have allowed him to close the gap.

"Brandon was doing good things. He had shown some accuracy in his throwing. But when he came back, he wasn't sharp. His passes weren't tight, they weren't in a spiral."

Petrino said the passing game lacked sharpness throughout the spring. Obviously, the offense missed Mallett, but he said there were other areas that threw the rhythm off. He mentioned the focus on the run game as one of the issues after the spring game. But he also said the depth at wide receiver might have been lacking and put the passing game behind.

"We have the four guys returning that caught the most passes last year," Petrino said. "But we lost three senior backups that provided a lot of depth. It's important for the freshman receivers to get prepared now."

Petrino said it was his decision to move Rudell Crim from cornerback to strong safety in the final week of spring drills.

"It came from me," he said. "We talked about it the first week of spring, but we couldn't do it because of depth at cornerback. Isaac Madison was just coming back. We decided to just be patient.

"I thought Crim looked good there. He's very fast and he likes to come up for the run. His speed changes things and not just at safety. It gets Darius Winston on the field at cornerback."

Petrino said the major concern heading into summer workouts is at linebacker. He thinks much progress was made at both the front four and in the secondary. He said the linebacker situation is still unsettled. He also said the decision to take linebacker Jerry Franklin out of the first half of spring drills to work in the weight room turned out well.

"He knows we were doing it for him," Petrino said. "He worked extremely hard. He needs to have a good summer in the weight room. He needs to be strong in the upper body to keep himself healthy. It will also help his confidence."

Petrino was asked about cornerback David Gordon, rehabbing from two surgeries, and placekicker Alex Tejada.

"Gordon really didn't get to do too much," he said. "Alex was very inconsistent."

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