FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –- The Arkansas football team had its Friday workout scaled back to less than two hours as the Razorbacks prepared for Saturday’s scrimmage, which is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The scrimmage is free and open to the public.
Head coach Bobby Petrino’s club spent the first 90 minutes of practice inside the Walker Pavilion before wrapping up the session with about 20 minutes on the practice fields.
Both coordinators said the third week of practice was focused more on improving execution rather than adding to the playbook, and they hope that execution carries over into the scrimmage.
“Hopefully we’ve made big strides and improvement as far as execution goes and as far as everyone knowing their assignment, which allows you to play faster,” offensive coordinator and receivers coach Paul Petrino said. “We hope that means guys will go out and play with more speed and react to what happens without thinking about it, and knowing what they are doing.”
Defensive coordinator and safeties coach Willy Robinson is hoping for the same thing on his side of the ball.
“We haven’t added anything to the defense (in the third week of practice), so we’ve been able to come back and finite the little things,” he said. “What we called three weeks ago and what we call today, we’re still getting a lot of different things, so that goes back to our consistency. We’re looking for consistency and discipline (on Saturday). Our effort is getting better, but it’s still not where we want it to be. Consistency starts in our alignments and our techniques. All the things you hear every day have to improve for us.”
Saturday’s scrimmage could play a big role in establishing a depth chart for the Red-White Game, which is set for April 26 at 6 p.m.
“I think we are improving every day,” Petrino said. “That is something we made a goal at the beginning of practice, to come out here and work hard every day. It will be a really big day for the depth chart to see where everybody is going into the next week before the spring game. There will be a lot on the line when we grade (Saturday’s) scrimmage.”
Defensively, Robinson said his group is beginning to react quicker, which means the speed has improved.
“In my eyes, the game is a little slow, but they are starting to play faster and they are starting to be the athletes we expect them to be,” he said. “We have to get some consistency and hopefully that occurs (Saturday).”
Individually, Petrino was complimentary of 6-3 sophomore receiver Marques Wade, among others.
“I’m really excited about him,” he said. “He’s a great kid and he gives you everything he has every day. His team didn’t throw the ball much in high school and the whole time he’s been here he’s really just been on the scout team, so he hasn’t had much work. I think his future gets brighter and brighter every day. I think he has a chance to be pretty good. He has a nice long stride and he pumps his arms hard. He’s got to have a great summer working hard on his own and a great two-a-days, and hopefully he will be ready to go.”
In two major scrimmages so far this spring, he has seven receptions for 57 yards.
On the other side, Robinson singled out sophomore linebacker Jermaine Love.
“He is doing a great job,” Robinson said. “He has great tenacity and a tremendous motor. Things are starting to connect for him. The one thing he brings to the table is his ability to strike, and we’ve seen that this week.”
Love had five tackles in last week’s scrimmage.