One of the bigger spring practice storylines over the past week or so has been the future of Damon Mitchell. It doesn't look like he'll be a quarterback here, but as of right now it doesn't appear he has interest in playing any other positions.
Ark OC Jim Chaney on Duwop Mitchell: Wonderful athlete and a good young man. I want him to be a productive member of our football team. ...— Thomas Murphy (@TomMurphyADG) April 16, 2014
(Chaney cont) …That will never change. If he can help us at a different position right now and he chooses to do so, we'd love to have him.— Thomas Murphy (@TomMurphyADG) April 16, 2014
It certainly feels like everything's up in the air right now. Apparently his future in Fayetteville hinges on whether or not he becomes happy with the idea of playing another position. He did reportedly play as a wide receiver in Tuesday's practice.
Chaney also gave his thoughts on Saturday's scrimmage.
"We protected the quarterback better than we did the first scrimmage. I don't think we ran the ball the way we should have. We weren't as explosive, but we were better on third down than we were the first scrimmage, so there's some good and some bad. At the end of the day we're about 50/50 on winning the plays and losing the plays. A lot of our losses are from mental mistakes that we have to clean up and continue to develop. It's been interesting as we watch the tape trying to correct the mistakes. They got out and seem to be pretty driven to correct those mistakes the next practice. Today, we tried to correct some things that we messed up on on Saturday and they seemed pretty focused on that. I admire the qualities of this team in that regard."
Coach Chaney also spoke about preparing for the 2014 season opener against Auburn.
"We got a little Auburn work in today," he said. "We probably didn't do it at the rate we needed to, but we will look at it some tomorrow and see if see if we can get some stuff adjusted in that regard. We are trying to work on it a little bit though, as we keep pushing through. Most of the installations are done so we aren't adding a lot of new offense. It's time to start thinking a little bit about the future."
Another story has been AJ Derby's move to tight end. After originally avoiding the idea, he appears to have embraced it. Coaches have said nothing but positive things about his performance there so far.
A.J. Derby on his move to TE: "I’ve always been a real bull-headed person. I always thought I could play quarterback at this level."— Robbie Neiswanger (@NWARobbie) April 16, 2014
That bull-headed part is legit. Remember, this is a guy who was once arrested after punching out a bus window in Iowa.
Derby said he met with Bielema enough to finally agree to step away from QB: "I want to get on the field. I want to help the team win."— Robbie Neiswanger (@NWARobbie) April 16, 2014
Here's the UA's video with Derby:
And the coaches