Hog O wants to execute, while D yearns to tackle to the ground in Saturday scrimmage

Hog O wants to execute, while D yearns to tackle to the ground in Saturday scrimmage

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FAYETTEVILLE - The Razorbacks donned full pads Friday for the first time this preseason but wage their first full-scale scrimmage Saturday morning.

The scrimmage will be the first practice open to all media, but it is closed to the public.

Arkansas offensive coaches and players after Thursday's closed practice, and defensive players and coaches after Friday's closed practice, talked about scrimmage objectives.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was succinct. "People playing with discipline, playing with toughness and with great attitude," he said.

Junior starting quarterback Brandon Allen was tidy. "I want this whole offense to have a clean scrimmage," Allen said. "No missed assignments. No pre-snap errors and the right alignments. I want the whole thing to be clean and for us to execute the plays that we have been running the whole time."

Defensive coordinator Robb Smith said it's a task that needs tackling. "The big thing for the scrimmage is we get to actually tackle and play football," Smith said. "Let's get out and see if we are where we need to be. We've got a big football game at the end of the month (Aug. 30 season opener at reigning SEC champion Auburn) so we have got to get our guys ready to play. And the only way to do that is tackle, and that's the opportunity to do it."

Defensive line coach Rory Segrest said the front is ready to bring 'backs down to the ground. "Obviously we are taking on blocks and now we get to the execution part of it with tackling," Segrest said. "We have a tackling system and we are going to see who goes out and executes that part of it."

Secondary coach Clay Jennings said he most wants three things: "We want to see if they can tackle. Can they communicate and get lined up? If they can get those three things accomplished tomorrow, then it has been a solid first week."

Smith said the defense "did a great job adjusting to the run" during Friday's practice held inside the Walker Pavilion because of lightning.

The Razorbacks haven't tackled to the ground, but they have "thudded" during the Wednesday and Thursday drills in shoulder pads and Friday's practice in full pads.

Asked who is popping among the thudders, Smith listed senior preseason All-SEC defensive end Trey Flowers, linebackers Brooks Ellis and Martrell Spaight, defensive tackle Darius Philon and senior safety Alan Turner from Junction City.

"I like the inside linebackers. I thought those guys did a good job setting the tempo," Smith said. "Trey Flowers is always a productive guy. Philon's kind of flash. A.T. at the safety spot has always been able to come down and put some good thuds on people. But tomorrow's the day that matters. That's the fun part. That's why we're here."

Recruited as a safety which he played last year, T.Q Coleman can look like a midget at weakside linebacker behind Spaight, but the second-year JC transfer has had his moments, blurring by big folks to make big plays.

"When you're 5-9, 200 pounds, it kind of sucks at times when a 330-pounder gets his hands on you because you ain't going nowhere," Coleman said, smiling. "But I get to run and use my speed, and they can't touch me sometimes. So it works both ways."

With senior three-year starting cornerback Tevin Mitchel limited to occasional contact coming off shoulder surgery last April, senior Carroll Washington and third-year sophomore Jared Collins will man the first-team corners in Saturday's scrimmage.


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