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Arkansas Razorbacks Fall Camp Practice Report - August 16th

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The Hogs practiced in front of the public for the first time on Saturday.

ArkansasRazorbacks.com

It's hard to say how much we learned from this scrimmage because there wasn't much 1s vs 1s. It was set up more like the spring game with 1s vs 2s more often than not.

But unlike the spring game (at least the first half), the first team offense appeared competent - moving the ball with decent efficiency and scoring most of the times they practiced driving the ball down the field and made a few big plays that got the small crowd excited.

The only real disappointment was that the first team offense didn't put up any points in their two-minute drill. The coaches piped in fake crowd noise to try to simulate a road environment (in all honesty, it probably wasn't as loud as a two-minute situation at Auburn would be. Maybe as loud as Texas Tech would be) but that didn't seem to effect Brandon Allen.

The team started at the 34-yard line with 1:48 on the clock. Allen completed four of his first five passes to different players - Jared Cornelius, Alex Collins, JoJo Robinson, and Korliss Marshall (Marshall broke a Randy Ramsey tackle to escape for about seven yards and get out of bounds).

That put the team at 2nd-and-2 on the 31-yard line with still 42 seconds on the clock. On the next play, Allen's pass fell incomplete but it appeared he probably could have scrambled for the first down if he wanted. On third down, Allen did scramble, but the play was blown dead after he gained just one yard. If the game was live, Allen may very well have gotten the first down, but the officials weren't shy about calling plays dead if the quarterbacks were anywhere near danger.

But he did stop the play before Allen earned a first down, and that brought out John Henson to attempt a 47-yard field goal. The kick had the leg but it sailed wide right. Bret Bielema said after the game 47 yards is about the limit of his comfort zone with Henson so he wasn't too upset about it. This does confirm, however, what Hog fans can probably expect this season from the field goal unit without having Zach Hocker's range.

The first team defense stopped the second team offense in the two minute drill after giving up just one first down.

But on later drives, the offense was clicking. Brandon Allen started a drive with an 11-yard pass to Jeremy Sprinkle and capped it a few plays later with a 27-yard touchdown pass to him. Sprinkle took a nice pop from DeAndre Coley when he caught the ball in the end zone, but he held on for the touchdown.

There's been a lot of talk this summer about the added weight put on by Alex Collins. It appears to be legit good weight. He displayed more power than he ever showed last year on a few runs when he was able to run through some would-be tacklers. He did not go down easily, especially later in the scrimmage when some of the defenders were likely getting worn out. That was really exciting to see.

There was no dominant receiver a la Drew Morgan last week. Passes were distributed a little more evenly today. Keon Hatcher led with four receptions for 36 yards - although a 5th reception was ruled out of bounds but it was really close and wouldn't surprise me if a replay booth ruled him in bounds. Otherwise, Sprinkle and Robinson both caught three passes and each had one touchdown. Morgan caught two passes for 17 yards.

Robinson's touchdown was one of the highlights of the scrimmage. He caught a short pass from Rafe Peavey, but then he showed off the skills that earned him the "Joe Adams-type" label when he was recruited. He shook his way around a couple of defenders before diving in the end zone for the score. When asked about Robinson after the practice, Bielema just smiled and said, "so what'd you think?" like he had just finished showing off a new toy at show-and-tell. It seems the possible redshirt talk we heard last weekend is no more.

Early in the scrimmage, Brandon Allen uncorked a 53-yard bomb to Sprinkle, and the crowd collectively "ooooooo"'d while the ball was in the air because it didn't feel like anything we saw last year. Sprinkle pulled it down over Coley before falling out of bounds.

Brandon finished 19-28 for 218 yards and three touchdowns (although two of the touchdowns came in red zone/goal line work). He did miss a few throws behind his receivers and threw a few balls away, but 67.8% completions would be a welcome change from last year.

Austin Allen didn't have as good a day as he did last week. He played against the better defenders today and finished 10-21 for 84 yards and one touchdown (in goal-line work). He nearly threw two pick-sixes to Joshua Liddell late in the scrimmage but Liddell dropped both.

There were no turnovers, although there was one fumble that Denzel Evans recovered (and Liddell really, really should have had those interceptions - especially the first one in which he would still be running).  The secondary did a decent job of breaking up passes - at least I can confidently say it was better than last year.

Korliss Marshall had a better day than last week as well. He ended the scrimmage with a 58-yard touchdown run. He ended up with three touchdowns. It was his birthday too.

Denzel Evans was completely Spaighted on a screen pass. No one envied him. Martrell Spaight also had a sack and another tackle for loss.

A few notable names did not participate:

  • Jonathan Williams - he's still being held out because of his hamstring injury. Bielema said he could return this week.
  • Brooks Ellis - he aggravated a dislocated kneecap he suffered in high school. Bielema said he could have participated today but they decided to hold him out for precautionary reasons.
  • Denver Kirkland - hurt his head from a collision with Reeve Koehler earlier this week. It's not a concussion according to Bielema but it was still hurting so he sat out. Bielema didn't seem too concerned he would miss any significant time.

Some notable tweets from Bielema's post-scrimmage presser:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Bielema &quot;Frank Ragnow and Brian Wallace will be exceptional football players here&quot;</p>&mdash; Doc Harper (@doc_harper) <a href="https://twitter.com/doc_harper/statuses/500760340909391875">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Austin is the clear #2 quarterback at this point.</p>&mdash; Doc Harper (@doc_harper) <a href="https://twitter.com/doc_harper/statuses/500760802630983680">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Bielema &quot;Tevin Beanum could be a very very significant player for us for the next 3-4 years.&quot;</p>&mdash; Doc Harper (@doc_harper) <a href="https://twitter.com/doc_harper/statuses/500762698301190146">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Bielema: Randy Ramsey was a little banged up today so he didn&#39;t flash what he could do as much as he did last week</p>&mdash; Doc Harper (@doc_harper) <a href="https://twitter.com/doc_harper/statuses/500762914286891008">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Bielema: Fullback situation is still unclear</p>&mdash; Doc Harper (@doc_harper) <a href="https://twitter.com/doc_harper/statuses/500764129670336512">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Bielema on ending with Marshall&#39;s 57-yard TD run: &quot;I was kind of hoping to get Austin (Allen) a few more reps there, but Korliss broke away&quot;</p>&mdash; Robbie Neiswanger (@NWARobbie) <a href="https://twitter.com/NWARobbie/statuses/500761198183190528">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Bret Bielema said Arkansas will begin game week preparation the middle of next week.</p>&mdash; Robbie Neiswanger (@NWARobbie) <a href="https://twitter.com/NWARobbie/statuses/500760169312043008">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Coach B: The sky is the limit for Korliss Marshall</p>&mdash; Hawgs Illustrated (@HImagazine) <a href="https://twitter.com/HImagazine/statuses/500764328211914755">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Coach B: MLB Josh Williams had a good scrimmage and is coming on</p>&mdash; Hawgs Illustrated (@HImagazine) <a href="https://twitter.com/HImagazine/statuses/500763297633677313">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Coach B: Sebastian Tretola filled in for Kirkland - liked very much from what I saw</p>&mdash; Hawgs Illustrated (@HImagazine) <a href="https://twitter.com/HImagazine/statuses/500762451562868737">August 16, 2014</a></blockquote>

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