FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ first scrimmage had some bright spots and some not so bright as one would expect with just the sixth practice of the spring.
Sam Pittman participated in a zoom conference following the scrimmage. He complimented the men’s basketball team and also the several fans who were in attendance for the scrimmage.
“I want to thank the fans,” Pittman said. “I don’t know, we must have had 2 or 3,000 people come out to the scrimmage today. I know that means a lot to our players and means a lot to our coaching staff. We want to thank them.”
As far as the play on the field, Pittman found good and bad on both sides.
“I think we saw enough good on both sides of the ball to be encouraged,” Pittman said. “And I think we saw enough things certainly that we need to improve on and work on. But I was proud of the organization of the scrimmage and the way our kids competed. As of right now I think we came out fairly injury free from today’s practice. I was proud of the way the kids competed, but obviously we’ve got things to work on, but we did see some positive things as well.”
The unofficial stats for the quarterbacks were KJ Jefferson 11-13 for 114 yards and two touchdowns and one interception, Malik Hornsby 6 of 16 for 84 yards, John Stephen Jones 3 of 5 for 27 yards, Lucas Coley 2 of 6 for 23 yards and a touchdown, Kade Renfro 3 of 4 for 25 yards and Jacob Switzer 2 of 2 for 15 yards. Pittman talked about the quarterback play.
“Honestly, we missed too many balls,” Pittman said. “We’ve had the same thing happen in practice. We’re holding the ball too long. There’s a fine line in there putting the quarterback live and teaching him to get rid of the football and not. We’re holding the ball too long. Which means one of two things, we’re not getting open or we’re not understanding the defensive coverage. We just missed too many open receivers at the quarterback spot. None of those guys have had much game experience and that’s why I wanted to scrimmage three times this spring. We’re inexperienced at that position. I thought they did a good job of running the offense, but obviously there was some guys I wish they had thrown and caught the ball a little bit better.”
At running back, the leading rusher was Trelon Smith who had eight carries for 74 yards and a touchdown. Rocket Sanders was next with six carries for 56 yards. Dominique Johnson had eight carries for 24 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns. Josh Oglesby had four carries for 18 yards while TJ Hammonds carried four times for 14 yards.
“He is a wonderful kid and hard worker,” Pittman said of Sanders. “I thought he played well. We moved him to running back Day 1. I don’t know that was necessarily the thought when we recruited him, but we needed a bigger back. He’s still struggling a little bit in pass protection. I’m not talking about the physicality, but the understanding of it.
“Smitty has one gear and that’s full throttle. That’s what makes him a good football player. He’s a physical kid. Not big, but he plays much more physical and much more heavier than what he is.”
At wide receiver, Treylon Burks led the way with four receptions for 68 yards. John David White put on a show grabbing four catches for 59 yards. Blake Kern caught four passes for 29 yards including a touchdown. Hudson Henry had three catches for 35 yards and Mike Woods two for 10.
“Burks is a talented, talented kid, everybody knows that,” Pittman said. “He went out and got one in the end zone.”
Few Defensive Notes
*Malik Chavis picked off a Jefferson pass.
*Dorian Gerald had two sacks. Bumper Pool, Zach Zimos, Jacorrei Turner, Jashaud Stewart and Jaylen Johnson all had one sack each unofficially.
*The biggest hit of the day might have been by defensive Eric Thomas who nailed Preston Crawford in the backfield for a six-yard loss as soon as he took the handoff.
Matthew Phillips, 25-yard field goal
Dominique Johnson, 1-yard run, Phillips PAT
KJ Jefferson to Treylon Burks, 20-yard touchdown pass, Phillips PAT
Lucas Coley to John David White, 11-yard touchdown pass, Cameron Little PAT
Little 41-yard field goal
Jefferson to Blake Kern, 18-yard touchdown pass
Trelon Smith, 1-yard run
Johnson, 10-yard run