Razorbacks Report

The Morning News/Razorback Central
Posted Aug 12, 2009


FIRST DOWN Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has admittedly been hard on quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson this preseason. But their performances earned some praise Wednesday. Mallett and Wilson helped the offense turn in big plays during Arkansas’ scrimmage in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

“I thought the offense got after the defense,” Petrino said. “We gave up some big plays which we can’t have on defense. But we had guys flying around making plays offensively.”

Mallett and Wilson were at their best during the last portion of the scrimmage, when the offense was given the chance to move downfield.

Mallett, who led the first-team offense against the second defense, completed 8 of 10 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown during the stretch. Wilson, who practiced against the first defense, was 6 of 8 for 119 yards and a touchdown.

The success came even though the offensive line was missing two starters in DeMarcus Love and Grant Cook. Tight end D.J. Williams and receiver Lucas Miller sat out with injuries, too.

Running back Michael Smith believes it was a promising sign.

“If this was the first time we got together and put it together and it was like this, you know we can only go up from here,” he said.



TWO-MINUTE DRILL

• DT Malcolm Sheppard was held out of the scrimmage, but it wasn’t because of an injury. Petrino said Sheppard, one of the team’s captains, needed to learn how to practice after he “put a couple guys in jeopardy of getting injured,” on Tuesday.

• Two days after being criticized for not running tough enough, RB Broderick Green turned in an impressive day. Green had a 39-yard run, and a few plays later, scored on a 25-yarder. “He said no matter what, he was going to go out there and prove to coach that he could be tough,” Smith said of Green.

• Love missed his second straight practice because of a knee injury, but Petrino said the senior could be back by the end of the week. Cook was held out, too, after suffering a bone bruise. Grant Freeman worked in Love’s place, while Wade Grayson, who started at guard in 2008, slid from reserve center to guard.

• Freshman WR Cobi Hamilton was one of the more impressive offensive players Wednesday, pulling in a pair of big plays. He hauled in a 62-yard bomb early on and was tackled 1 yard from the goal line. He also had a 42-yard reception later in the scrimmage.



INSIDE SCOOP

Tight end Chris Gragg’s ankle injury, which has likely ended his season, was a scary moment. But it wasn’t the only one. The Razorbacks held their breath earlier in practice, too, when safety Elton Ford collided with freshman receiver Neal Barlow and didn’t get up off the ground for a few minutes.

Remember, Ford has spent the past 10 months working his way back to the field after breaking three vertebrae in his neck in October. The sophomore was attended to by Arkansas’ trainers on the field and got up and walked to the sideline.

As he did, something unusual happened: Every member of the team stopped to clap.

It’s not the first time a player has been hurt this preseason and needed some help to leave the field. But it was the first time it warranted a round of applause from the Razorbacks.

The good news: After reaching the sideline and following further examination, Ford returned and participated in the scrimmage.


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