I need to give a shoutout to the UA sports information staff for putting solid work into this year's practice reports. The reports have been pretty lackluster the last couple of years and it's been easy to make fun of them, but they're much better this year.
Monday, August 10:
The practice report from Arkansas praised Brooks Ellis and Denver Kirkland for excelling in their position changes. Kirkland is moving from guard to left tackle while Ellis is moving to weakside linebacker from middle linebacker.
It also touted JaMichael Winston and the Hogs' defensive line depth. That's expected to be a strength this season. It also reported this from freshman running back Rawleigh Williams and freshman tight end Austin Cantrell:
Running back Rawleigh Williams III continues to impress. Coach Bielema touted the true freshman from Dallas again after today’s practice as Williams showed great vision on several runs. Williams had one off tackle run where he saw the hole, cut back and took it into the secondary for a long gain. He has also showcased his hands in the passing game and shows great burst.
Another freshman that had a great practice was Austin Cantrell. He has played a variety of different positions thus far, lining up mostly as a tight end and H-back. His versatility make him very valuable as the Razorback coaching staff can use him in a variety of different ways. He clearly has a chance to earn playing time this fall.
The report from Hawgs247 had several tidbits including this from OL Frank Ragnow:
"At spring it was a little rough we were trying to find our chemistry," Ragnow said. "But now we're starting to mesh well. We're all starting to see things and starting to get that chemistry so it's pretty exciting."
"Today, Josh Allen had a heck of a practice," Ragnow said. "He has been struggling a bit, not physically, but just to get everything down in his head. Jalen Merrick has been working hard too. Allen had one pull today where Coach B jumped up and hugged him. Zach Rogers I don't even think of as a young guy. He's phenomenal....he knows everything and works so hard."
Among the notes on WholeHogSports was a good sign from the receivers:
"I like what I saw today," Keon Hatcher said. "There weren't many dropped balls at all. I think there might have only been one today."
UA sent this tweet video with the weird slo-mo:
Tuesday August 11th - FINALLY IN FULL PADS!
Junior Alex Collins looks quicker than ever. Fortunately, he’s always had excellent vision and that’s difficult to teach. He combined those two skills regularly today as he reeled off a couple of impressive runs, including one incredible cutback that led him to the third level without being touched.
Senior Jonathan Williams is also practicing at a high level. He also has great burst and is healthier than he’s been in a long time. It looked like Williams wanted to embrace contact today even though the defense wasn’t allowed to bring guys to the ground.
The team drank a lot of Gatorade
And you may have seen the Dominique Reed highlight clip:
From Hawgs247 on the defensive line:
Senior DeMarcus Hodge along with junior Jeremiah Ledbetter and freshman Hjalte Froholdt are all in line to play key roles this fall. Hodge is running first-team at nose guard while Froholdt is backing him up. Ledbetter, a junior college product, is at second-team end.
"It was tough last spring because Coach Segrest has a different type of philosophy playing defensive line. All the older guys helped me a lot. With Coach Segrest, it's about bringing your hands first instead of moving your feet. On film, if you move your feet before you move your hands he will slow it down and tell you. It's a little different, but I think I have gotten the hang of it now."
Froholdt has played both nose guard and defensive tackle in his time at Arkansas. He started out at tackle in the spring and then was moved to nose guard.
"It's pretty much the same," Froholdt said. "You are a little further off the ball against the offensive guard at three-technique.But you've still got to bring your hips, bring your hands and focus on the ball. The nose gets double-teamed a little more and it's pretty much the same, it just happens a little quicker at the nose."
They also filed this report featuring quotes from CB D.J. Dean:
"I think the secondary is looking really good," Dean said. "We gave up a couple of plays and that's going to happen sometimes, but overall I think we are doing a great job back there."
Did the secondary force any turnovers on Tuesday on the first day of full pads?
"We did get two turnovers today," Dean said. "Rohan Gaines tipped the ball up and Tevin Beanum dove and caught it for an interception," Dean said. "I got an interception today during one of the team periods."
Since the cornerbacks go one-on-one with the wide receivers each day, who has caught Dean's attention?
"I think the receivers are improving this year," Dean said. "Dominique Reed is definitely a tremendous speed guy. He is the one of the hardest guys to guard right now because I am not used to guarding him. E. Hawk (Eric Hawkins) is another guy who has a lot of speed. Him, Dominique and Keon (Hatcher) those guys will go get the ball. Overall, we are just competing out there and improving every day."
Wednesday August 12th
The team practiced under the lights in the stadium Wednesday night. It was closed to the media and the assistant coaches only met with the media before practice, so they didn't report on what happened. UA was able to post a report on their own site, of course.
Here's that report along with videos of the coaches interviews. Apparently the offense performed well.
Coach B Approved ✅ pic.twitter.com/iILi5ufi8E
— Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) August 13, 2015
Michael Smith talked about Reed and his wide receivers on Wednesday.
"Reed is doing well," Smith said. "He's picking up system pretty well. He's putting himself in a situation to get into the rotation. To have been here only five days he's doing some nice things. He's playing X right now."
Smith said Reed, Kendrick Edwards, Jared Cornelius and Cody Hollister are playing the X. Keon Hatcher, Hawkins, Damon Mitchell and Drew Morgan are playing the Z. Jojo Robinson and Cornelius are in the slot.
"I love the room right now," Smith said. "We do have some depth. Eric has had a great camp. He's a team player. He's sitting on ready and is capable of going out there and helping us win football games. His approach has been off the charts."
Is [Rawleigh] Williams about where Singleton thought he would be or a little ahead at this point?
"To be honest, he's a little bit further ahead than I thought he would be," Singleton said. "You just never know with a true freshman coming in how they are going to respond to the speed of the game and those type of things. But he has done some good things going into his sixth practice."
Singleton also had some nice things to say about Alex Collins.
"I have seen a great young man who's really working," Singleton said.
Zach Rogers is running second-team center behind senior Mitch Smothers. Sam Pittman stated last spring he would like to redshirt Rogers if possible, but Rogers has shown the ability to learn a new position and is making it difficult not to play him if needed.