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Robinson Erupts After Practice
The Morning News/Razorback Central
Posted Mar 25, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson was in a foul mood Wednesday evening.
He was so frustrated with the way his defense looked during a grueling practice that lasted around three hours that he broke his watch and then gave it to a reporter.
“Pretty much frustrated, yeah,” Robinson said.
In particular, Robinson was upset that his defensive players wore down toward the end of
’ second spring practice inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Several cornerbacks appeared to cramp up, and the defense couldn’t maintain its intensity while facing the offense during team drills.
It didn’t seem to matter that Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino put his team through especially long practices last season.
“That’s the shame of it all. The thing about it is they let their minds take over and got tired,” Robinson said. “They should know this can happen anytime, anywhere, any place, and we’ve got to realize we lost eight games on the last play of the friggin’ game.
“So we’ve got to learn how to finish. We’ve got to come out here and battle as long as it takes.”
Robinson said he was frustrated that no defensive player stepped up and showed leadership when the offense made several big plays during what amounted to a mini-scrimmage.
“Our guys have got to respond to it. When they get tired, they’ve got to get upset,” Robinson said. “Get pissed off and stayed pissed off and learn how to compete.”
Arkansas wide receiver Jarius Wright has earned a reputation for being a good practice player, and he offered more proof of that Wednesday.
Wright caught the attention of Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino when the sophomore beat the secondary on three long catches toward the end of practice.
One of Wright’s highlight catches came when quarterback Tyler Wilson, who’s competing to be the starter, hurled a deep pass over a defender and into the receiver’s arms.
“He did make a bunch of plays,” Petrino said of Wright, who caught 19 passes for 348 yards and two touchdowns last season. “I think all four of those freshmen (wide receivers) played a lot last year, so they should all be that much better this year.”
Wright also got some work returning punts early in practice. Cornerback Jerell Norton, wide receiver Reggie Fish and strong safety Seth Armbrust also fielded punts in the hopes of earning the job in the fall.
Turns out, quarterback Ryan Mallett has a good leg after all.
Mallett showed off his kicking ability early in practice when he and linebacker Stephen Barnett took turns punting the football. Several of Mallett’s punts sailed around 40 yards, and he managed to get them high in the air.
“The last time I kicked was before spring break,” Mallett said. “We did a little extra kicking — (kicker Alex) Tejada and those other guys.”
After taking part in the special teams drill, Mallett rejoined the offense and got back to throwing passes to his receivers.
• Running back Brandon Barnett (family issue) and cornerback Andru Stewart (undisclosed issue) didn’t take part in practice.
• Arkansas brought out a stack of 2x4’s for a punt drill that stresses that the special-team blockers maintain their lanes. Several boards of wood were placed on the field, and blockers were forced to line up in between them during the drill.
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