Hogs: Bielema opens Saturday scrimmage to fans; Friday practice notes
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has opened Saturday's scrimmage to the public at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
C Travis Swanson
There is no admission charge with entry at 3:30 p.m. through Gate 1 for the 3:50 p.m. scrimmage. All seating will be in the lower bowl on the west side with the exception of lower rows near the field due to maintenance.
No photography or videos, including with cell phones, will be permitted. Parking is available on lots west of Razorback Road as well as Lot 44 on the north side of the stadium.
The new Fred W. Smith Football Center where the Razorbacks are headquartered, will not be available to the public.
This week's five Monday through Friday practices have been closed to the public and media.
Defensive coordinator Chris Ash and redshirt freshman cornerback Jared Collins, among the Razorbacks defensive coaches and defensive players available to media after Friday's practice, both said adding fans Saturday should be a spark, though Ash said some rookies might be jittery.
"Some players have never been on the field with fans," Ash said. "They get a little bit nervous. Now, thankfully we had a great turnout at the spring game and it helped alleviate some of that. But the energy, the excitement, the enthusiasm, all that stuff just kind of goes up another notch when fans are out there. They want to put on a show. They want to play well in front of people. They like people to say good things about them. When people show up to watch them, they want to do well. Now, can they stay within themselves mentally in those situations."
Collins experienced fans virtually last fall watching while redshirting, but he got a taste of playing in front of a crowd during April's Red-White spring game.
"The fans are just motivation for us," Collins said. "We want to make them proud, make them happy and give them a show. We just would be proud to do that."
Collins, out of Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High, has shown up well, beating out sophomore incumbent Will Hines for the first-team cornerback last spring. Collins has held his first-team spot this August opposite experienced 2-year starting junior cornerback Tevin Mitchel with senior Eric Bennett and third-year sophomore Rohan Gaines returning as starting safeties.
"He (Collins) is a cat-quick guy and he's smart (a 4.0 student in kinesiology)," secondary coach Taver Johnson said. "That elevated him last spring. Right now he's working on the little details of that position."
Collins, 6-0, has a bigger body to work with. He says he's added eight pounds to 175 though Johnson laughed that Collins must have added eight of the biggest pounds ever measured to weigh 175.
"Last year it seemed like he was 150-something pounds," said Johnson, the lone returning coach from 2012 interim coach John L. Smith's staff. "He gained eight pounds, and it's all solid muscle. He is doing a good job of keeping that weight on. Every couple of days or so he's adding a couple of pounds so if he can do that in this heat during the practices that we are having, he is going to be just fine."
Ash said Wednesday and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said Thursday there would be hitting Friday with full pads donned for the first time and there was, Ash said after Friday's practice.
Still, Bielema and the staff didn't overwork them with a scrimmage set Saturday afternoon.
"We went out in full pads, a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of emotion out there for the first day and it was fun," Ash said Friday. "But we did not do any live tackle stuff today. We did some cut-block drills and we did so some tackling drills but we'll get an opportunity to go live tomorrow."
Sonny Henson, a Razorback football letterman in 1945 for basketball coach Glen Rose's pinch-hitting as football coach during World War II, and then lettering for John Barnhill's 1947 and 1948 Razorbacks, has died. Elected to the UA Sports Hall of Honor, Henson not only served the Razorbacks as a player but was active in the Letterman's Club (now A-Club).
Off the field, the Springdale native served as Mayor of Little Rock in 1965 and '66 and continued with longtime civic and Christian service upon moving to Fort Smith.