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Graham’s Take: Arkansas Football further ahead that thought in spring

NCAA Football: Liberty Bowl-Arkansas at Kansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s public practice inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium marked the end of Arkansas’ spring session for 2023.

The scrimmage acted more as a practice than the traditional spring game but gave glimpses of what to expect from Sam Pittman’s team this fall. Altogether, the Hogs looked crisp in many categories.

The team seems bought into the schemes and mentalities of the new coordinators, which can be a slow process for some programs.

Saturday’s practice featured some flashes and hope-inspiring moments while showing a few weaknesses Pittman must address before fall camp. Let’s dive in.

  • KJ Jefferson looked solid. The veteran quarterback seems the most poised, mature, and in shape he has been heading into a season since he arrived in Fayetteville. He looked like a natural under-center and seems comfortable in Dan Enos’ offense. I think KJ will thrive in the slower-paced offense, and the read option potential will be fun with Arkansas’ star-studded backfield. Pittman mentioned on Saturday that KJ and Enos’ relationship is growing stronger as the team moves toward the summer.
  • Isaiah Sategna looks more physically mature and confident in his abilities. The speedster hauled in two long touchdown passes during Saturday’s action.
  • Transfers Andrew Armstrong (TAMUC) and Tyrone Broden (Bowling Green) showed flashes of their potential at the receiver position. Each player is long and athletic, with seemingly good ball skills. The pair will go a long way in opening up the offense for KJ this season.
  • It should be no surprise, but the Razorback backfield looked strong on Saturday. Rocket Sanders, AJ Green, and Rashod Dubinion looked like they took no time off since Arkansas’ Liberty Bowl Victory. Additionally, it is worth noting that Dubinion changed his number to seven for the upcoming season.
  • Landon Jackson submitted a strong performance on Saturday. The LSU transfer seemingly lived in the backfield at times. It might be a big year for Jackson in his second season on the Hill.
  • It was fun to see two tight ends on the field for Arkansas simultaneously on Saturday. I think youngsters Luke Hasz and Ty Washington have enormous potential in Dan Enos’ offense. Each possesses size but showed off their quickness in Saturday’s practice.
  • It was hard to judge the success of the downfield passing game at times from both an offensive and defensive perspective. The offense connected on a few long passes, while a handful of 50/50 balls favored the defense. Regardless, this year’s secondary looks much improved on paper, and their athleticism was on display on Saturday.
  • Cam Little looked to be in his standard groove on Saturday, but there was limited special teams work during the scrimmage. I’m hoping for more consistency from the special teams unit this fall.
  • Perhaps the biggest red flag was the offensive line play on Saturday. The defensive front seven gave the offensive line fits for much of the scrimmage. Saturday was just a shell of what to expect, and there is no doubt Pittman will establish the most effective line combination. However, the coaching staff should aim to add some depth via the portal before fall camp begins.

It was great to see the Hogs back on the field again. The season will be here before we know it. Go Hogs!