August 4, 2014

Monday Practice Notebook






  • Razorback head coach Bret Bielema said there are 105 guys on the field, so everyone is accounted for and that is something that makes him very pleased.

  • Bielema said they'll see throughout the course of the week that there are some guys in the freshman class that will prove they can help them right away. He also mentioned UNLV guard transfer Cameron Jefferson and junior college linebacker transfer Josh Williams as those who can help early. JUCO transfer offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola, too, though Tretola is a bit "heavy" right now. Bielema said that Jefferson really stands out physically.

  • Jefferson and Tretola worked at guard today, Jefferson at left and Tretola at right. They don't want them to overthink anything and are hoping to find out who can play above all else. True freshman center Frank Ragnow ran with the 2s and 3s today at center and looked really good. Junior Grady Ollison is repping at right tackle now. Ragnow and Brian Wallace are physically ready to help if needed. And it's hard for him to imagine a scenario where defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson doesn't help them.

  • Brey Cook has stepped up firmly in the role that Travis Swanson filled last year. If there's a player who has embodied what they want out of this team, it's Cook. Bielema said that unit doesn't move unless Cook says so.

  • Mitch Smothers and Luke Charpentier both did a nice job inside, though Smothers and Ragnow each had mishandled snaps.

  • Bielema has started a true freshman at center before, Travis Frederick at Wisconsin. That player was good enough to become an NFL first-round draft pick, but Bielema has done it.

  • Senior cornerback Tevin Mitchel is still in a green jersey 'no contact' jersey due to limitations with shoulder surgery. With players not wearing shoulder pads until Thursday, there was not contact anyway. Carroll Washington, D.J. Dean and Mitchel all ran with the first team at cornerback. Dean came in for Mitchel, who is still being held out of some things.

  • Junior Mitchell Loewen is still coming back from surgery on his ACL. He is now at defensive end.

  • As for the backup quarterback, Austin Allen has taken a step this summer and has a much better understanding of what is expected of him and what is expected, Bielema said. Rafe Peavey threw the ball really well today. He said Peavey is such a pleaser, and a lot of that is because of his family. He actually wants Rafe to loosen up and stop worrying about making so many mistakes. Bielema said he thinks due to his arm, ability and work ethic, he could have a huge month for them.

  • Whatever reps Brandon Allen takes, Austin Allen will get half that and Peavey will get the other half. So if Allen takes 12 snaps, his brother will take six and Peavey will take six.

  • Having Auburn as the opener really changed the dynamics of how the team approached the off-season. He said everybody wants to focus the two coaches, but there are a lot of player rivalries on the team, too, Bielema said.

  • Among the receivers, junior Keon Hatcher caught every pass thrown his way Monday. Hatcher struggled with inconsistency last season. Senior Demetrius Wilson is down from 200 to 187 and caught the ball 'extremely well' today. He also moved really well coming off the ACL injury a year ago that forced him to miss all of 2013. The staff is going to try to put some weight back on Wilson.

  • At tight end, senior quarterback turned TE A.J. Derby had some 'circus catches' today. Sophomore returning starter Hunter Henry dropped one pass but was very effective, still. Bielema said TE coach Barry Lunney Jr. let Henry 'have it' on the dropped pass.

  • Henry was in a position where he came in and was automatically the best guy at tight end, and with moving Derby over there and Jeremy Sprinkle's emergence it has pushed Henry. Sprinkle, by the way, has added 35 pounds since the staff arried and is now carrying 243.

  • At linebacker the team is feeling out Josh Williams and seeing what he can bring to the table. That could mean some shuffling at linebacker, but Brooks Ellis can play multiple positions for them, Bielema said.

  • Speed-wise, day one without pads, they looked good. They also looked good this summer running. They recruited for speed in this class. Martrell Spaight looked really fast last year because he was the only linebacker that could really run. The three new freshmen are all as fast as Spaight, Bielema said.

  • Korliss Marshall might be, pound-for-pound, one of the most explosive players Bielema said he has ever coached. He spoke a lot about Marshall's burst and how talented Alex Collins is, even though Collins has good days and bad days.

  • The Big Guy Weight Loss Program - Denver Kirkland is in that group and looks really good right now, Bielema said. DeMarcus Hodge lost 25 pounds and is down to 335. Bijhon Jackson looks 'awesome' and lost around 25 pounds, too, Bielema said. Charpentier was in there a little bit. He's anxious to see how those guys feel around practice five or six.

  • It was a 26-period practice, and the last three periods were all freshmen. Periods are five minutes each.

  • Bielema said there could be similar if not more freshmen playing this year as compared to last year.

  • Bielema said before they offer any kid, they not only check up on him athletically and academically but also how he is on social media. He has been in households where a kid has told his mom to shut up or something and he has been out the door.

  • Bielema was asked about Saturday's scrimmage, and he said right now what he's looking for a better day Tuesday than they had on Monday. They'll start strapping on uppers on Thursday and full gear on Friday.

  • Saturday's scrimmage will be open to the media only, most likely.



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