HOGS ultra sharp on first day

HOGS ultra sharp on first day

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FAYETTEVILLE - Two points of emphasis that Arkansas coach Sam Pittman addressed Monday were addressed again Tuesday by linebacker Grant Morgan and running back Trelon Smith after the Razorbacks practiced for the first time.

Both Tuesday and Thursday’s first two of 15 spring practices are without pads, but the Razorbacks worked crisply for Pittman in his first spring practice with them. The reaction to Covid-19 killed all spring sports a year ago, but the Hogs drilled late summer 2020.

“We know what to expect,” said Morgan, the extra senior year All-SEC linebacker. “We know where to go because we’ve been through it before. It’s our first spring ball but it’s not the first time doing it with these coaches. It really showed for everybody.”

PASS RUSH

Pittman demands a considerably better pass rush than the Razorbacks amassed last season, and Morgan agrees.

“Yes, definitely,” Morgan said. “As a defense, we have to put pressure on the quarterback. It doesn’t matter if we’re rushing three or one. We have to get somebody there and get pressure on him and make him move around.   Last year we didn’t do it well enough so we have an emphasis on it now. Guys have to step up and play better. They know that and they are going to do it.”

Morgan said Pittman liked their Tuesday effort.

“I don’t think we could have started any better,” Morgan said. “Today we had a really good practice. We went really fast. He called us up on inside afterwards and he was just congratulating us on how great we did and saying ‘You all really had the best inside period I’ve ever seen without pads.’

OFFENSE INSPIRED

Smith said the offense also practiced enthused.

“Oh man, first day of spring was exciting,” the junior said. “I was happy to be out there. The offense was happy to be out there. It was just fast-paced today and up-tempo. Coach Pittman coming into this spring passionately speaks on tempo. He wants us to move. He wants everything to be fast, on and off the field.”

3 THE HARD WAY

Pittman asserted Monday that he wants offensive coordinator Kendal Briles confident to call a run on third-and-3 instead of a pass as the Hogs did most of last fall.

“We definitely take that as a challenge,” Smith said.  “We want to be a powerhouse football team. We want to be a smash-mouth football team. In those type of situations, third-and-2, third-and-3, we want to be able to hand the ball off to the ‘back and get those yards the dirty way. I’ve talked to my O-line; they’ve talked to me. We want to be able to let Coach Briles know, ‘Hey, on third-and-2, third-and-3, you don’t have to go in the air. You can just hand it off and we’re going to get it for you. That’s our main focus, and we’re doing pretty good.”

TUESDAY IN REVIEW

Asked about specific big offensive plays Tuesday, Smith cited quarterbacks KJ Jefferson and Malik Hornsby and former UA track sprinter become running back Josh Oglesby.

“Malik Hornsby had a good throw today down the field (to receiver Kendall Catalon) in the two-minute drill that took us to the 5-yard line, I want to say,” Smith said.  “Josh Oglesby (coming back from a preseason injury sidelining him for 2020) on outside zone ended up scoring the touchdown for us in the red zone. I broke on a few plays. I saw (leading returning receiver) Treylon Burks on the other side of the field making good catches in the one-on-one drills. The O-line busting their tail. Defense working. But I really just like what I'm seeing across the whole board. KJ Jefferson (the starting quarterback) was looking good today as well. He looked comfortable in the backfield.”

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