FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas returned to the practice fields on Tuesday for another spring practice and one of the main tasks this spring is to solidify the quarterback position.
Gone is Feleipe Franks who is very likely to hear his name called in the upcoming NFL Draft. Arkansas has redshirt sophomore KJ Jefferson leading the charge there and he easily has the most experience along with redshirt junior John Stephen Jones.
The other candidates are redshirt freshman Malik Hornsby, true freshman Lucas Coley and redshirt freshman Kade Renfro who transferred in from Ole Miss. Little Rock Parkview’s Landon Rogers will join the mix in June.
One complaint of Pittman this spring has been the quarterbacks holding onto the football too long. He discussed that again after Saturday’s scrimmage.
“I don’t know without watching the tape,” Pittman said. “Just sitting out there behind the quarterbacks today, I don’t know if our defense was doing a nice job of stopping the short routes or if our quarterbacks are looking for the deep ball. Are they going through the progressions correctly?
Obviously something is wrong. It’s either we’re not getting open, we’re not reading the first progression and hitting him when he’s open. Maybe we’re trying to go deep with the ball. I don’t know the answer to that until I watch the tape. But obviously our timing’s off.”
During Tuesday’s one-on-one work, Hornsby had a nice pass to redshirt junior Jaquayln Crawford. The two also hooked up for a nice pass against the first-team defense during Saturday’s scrimmage. Defensive back Jacorrei Turner picked off a Jones pass during the one-on-one work Tuesday.
Offensive Line Depth
It’s hard to believe just a few year’s ago how thin Arkansas was on the offensive line. That isn’t the case any longer.
Even losing a standout like Noah Gatlin, who had to retire following knee injuries and concussions, the Hogs are still in great shape on the line. Sophomore transfer offensive tackle Ty’kieast Crawford has been out with an injury, but he figures to compete at right tackle with senior Dalton Wagner and others when healthy.
Senior Ty Clary and sophomore Beaux Limmer are competing at right guard. It’s expected redshirt freshman Jalen St. John will also compete there. Redshirt junior Ryan Winkel can help at guard or tackle. Redshirt freshman Ray Curry could also compete at right tackle.
At left tackle, senior Myron Cunningham returns as a solid starter. Redshirt freshman Marcus Henderson is expected to be a standout there eventually. A great battle is going at left guard between redshirt junior Luke Jones and redshirt sophomore Brady Latham.
Junior Ricky Stromberg leads at center with redshirt senior Shane Clenin providing solid backup. Redshirt junior Austin Nix is working at third-team center.
A pair of redshirt sophomores are getting plenty of work this spring as well with Dylan Rathcke and Drew Vest.
Pittman said Saturday that several Razorbacks got the COVID vaccine last week.
“The other thing too is we had 40-something kids take the vaccine this week as well,” Pittman said. “So it certainly could have done something with their energy. I don’t know that. I’m not trying to make excuses, believe me, but I’m understanding about some of the sloppy play that there might be a reason behind it. Not tolerated, but might be a reason behind it.”