FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ football team went through its fifth practice of the preseason Tuesday morning beginning at 9 a.m., splitting time between the indoor facility and the fields outside.
Here are some takeaways and observations from the open viewing window:
• There was no "fastball start" period for the second consecutive day.
• Watching the Razorbacks’ tight ends group, position coach Morgan Turner worked with his guys on striking defenders and lifting before getting to their second-level block. Arkansas coach Sam Pittman briefly came over and applauded a rep by Ty Washington, just as he did two days earlier during a blocking drill for the tight ends.
Before walking over to observe the offensive line, Pittman told the tight ends that a second-level block is simply a running first-level block. Later, players worked on finishing in routes as a defender knocked them off their path 3-to-5 yards downfield.
• Quarterbacks threw to tight ends and receivers in the red zone against air for one period. Tight end Shamar Easter made the most impressive catch in that stretch with a high-point catch well above his head in the back of the end zone.
• During the period that pits receivers against defensive backs in the red zone, corner Dwight McGlothern broke up a pass intended for receiver Andrew Armstrong on one of the first reps. Safety Dylan Hasz broke up a pass intended for receiver Isaac TeSlaa, then safety Jayden Johnson batted down a KJ Jefferson throw, and Jefferson was picked off by defensive back Aidan McCowan on the next rep. Cornerback Kee’yon Stewart also got a hand on a pass intended for receiver Davion Dozier.
Dozier, Sategna, Kamron Bibby and TeSlaa reeled in touchdown passes. Armstrong had a catch against safety Al Walcott that looked to be a bit short of the goal line. Quarterback Malachi Singleton, who had the touchdown pass to TeSlaa, had a would-be score dropped in the end zone.
• The defensive backs worked with position coach Deron Wilson on pass breakups earlier during the practice. For the purposes of the drill, Wilson emphasized that the players should be able to intercept a pass if they turn for the ball, otherwise they might get beat by the receiver across their face. "Fight like hell," Wilson told the players as they tried to knock the ball away from the receiver.
The secondary later went through a drill meant to teach them how to shed blocks by a receiver before making a tackle on the running back. Wilson told the players they were "trying to power clean through [the receiver's] body" as they worked to get low and lift.
• Each day during quarterback drills, the detail-oriented nature of offensive coordinator Dan Enos continues to stand out. Small details involving footwork, throwing motion, etc., are not small to him.
• Running backs coach Jimmy Smith was working with his unit on reading blocks and defenders. When a back found an open gap, he would yell for them to accelerate. It seemed to be a good drill for patience and changing speeds, and also reading the line of scrimmage.
Pittman liked what he was seeing when he stopped by the drill. He shouted, “That’s a good drill, Jimmy! That’s a real good drill!”
• The running backs also spent a considerable amount of time working on outside blocking. Smith honed in on techniques for getting defenders turned away from the direction of the play.
Prior to heading to the outdoor fields, the unit took a few minutes to practice leaking out for passes. They focused on route options based on distance from a defender. Pittman rotated through and saw AJ Green make a good read. He let Green know he thought it was a good rep.
• Quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs worked outdoors on passes from inside the red zone, and particularly inside the 10-yard line.
Jefferson struggled at times during this segment, but also had some good moments. He threw an interception to McCowan in the drill’s early stages and had a couple incompletions that were largely due to good coverage rather than being off target. Freshman defensive backs RJ Johnson and Jaylen Lewis had good moments.
Stewart, the cornerback, possibly had the most impressive play by a defender during the segment when he had a pass breakup in the end zone on a pass from Cade Fortin intended for Dozier.
• Among the offensive highlights during the drill was a nice grab in the back corner of the end zone by Bibby. TeSlaa also had a touchdown catch on a dime thrown by freshman Malachi Singleton.
Singleton had great accuracy during the drill and would have had two touchdowns if was not for a drop by Chris Rhodes. One could figure there is great competition between Singleton and Fortin right now for third-team quarterback, behind Jefferson and Jacolby Criswell.
Jefferson ended the segment with a completion on a shallow route to TeSlaa, who continues to stand out in the receivers group.
• Offensive and defensive linemen went one-on-one in the final open period. Some standouts with the first team included right guard Josh Braun (vs. Eric Gregory), center Beaux Limmer (Cam Ball) and defensive end Trajon Jeffcoat, who beat tackle Patrick Kutas twice.
The battles between defensive end Landon Jackson and tackle Devon Manuel, and left guard Brady Latham and defensive tackle Taurean Carter were physical, with each player appearing to win once in two snaps.
Defensive end Zach Williams looked good in two snaps against tackle E'Marion Harris. Another second-team snap between defensive end John Morgan and tackle Paris Patterson stood out for Morgan's push at the line of scrimmage and Patterson's recovery with his feet.
• Athletics director Hunter Yurachek was in attendance.
• Scouts from the Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Chicago Bears were in attendance.

Latest Player Notes

How Wisconsin athletes are benefiting from a unique NIL deal with Madison's Exact Sciences

Feb 17, 2024MJ Hammill entered what can be a scary time of an athlete’s life in mid-December.She went into the volleyball ...

Mike Griffith: Texas is Georgia's primary focus this offseason

February 16, 2024The Georgia Bulldogs face three SEC contenders on the road next season in Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss. According ...

Navigating a season that could see Texas play Georgia more than once

February 17, 2024The Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs will play in Austin on Oct. 19. It may not be the only time they ...

After some key departures from the team, Dykes got busy in the portal this offseason.

5:11 PM on Feb 16, 2024Biggest unanswered question: Who will emerge as the clear WR1?Before last season, Williams was the ...

How Louisville football coach Jeff Brohm balances transfer portal, high school recruiting

Louisville Courier JournalCollege football used to buzz on the first Wednesday in February, but Louisville football's office ...

Bob Asmussen | Illinois defense counting on linebackers to plug the gaps

College Football Reporter/ColumnistCHAMPAIGN — A new linebacker coach is in place at Illinois, and Archie McDaniel said he ...

Where Alabama’s quarterback group stands before spring practice

Alabama football’s offense is going to look different this season. Kalen DeBoer has replaced the retired Nick Saban as head ...

Why did AJ McCarron return to the St. Louis Battlehawks?

When AJ McCarron joined the resurrected XFL last year, the former Alabama All-American hadn’t played since suffering a knee ...

Colorado football self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations from Deion Sanders’ first year with Buffs

1/26/2024The Colorado football program has self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations since the hiring of head coach Deion Sanders ...

What Steve Young said about today’s NFL quarterbacks

By Jackson Payne Steve Young may have enjoyed a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling just ...
See More Player Notes