FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas held its first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday afternoon inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium.
The practice lasted 140 plays. Here were the starters:
- Starting offense: Austin Allen (QB), Kendrick Jackson (FB), Devwah Whaley (RB), Austin Cantrell (TE), Jordan Jones (WR), Deon Stewart (WR), Jonathan Nance (WR), Colton Jackson (LT), Hjalte Froholdt (LG), Frank Ragnow (C), Johnny Gibson (RG), Brian Wallace (RT).
- Starting defense: Ryan Pulley (CB), Henre’ Toliver (CB), Santos Ramirez (S), De’Andre Coley (S), Dwayne Eugene (OLB), Randy Ramsey (OLB), De’Jon Harris (ILB), Grant Morgan (ILB), McTelvin Agim (DE), Bijhon Jackson (DT), T.J. Smith (DE).
Here are five observations and extra information from the scrimmage:
QB Austin Allen near perfect
Starting quarterback Austin Allen was outstanding. He played only the first half of the scrimmage, completing 19 of his 23 passes for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also scored an 8-yard rushing touchdown on an option play, though it should be noted he was in a green “non-contact” jersey.
The senior from Fayetteville threw a pair of deep touchdown passes (66 and 67 yards) to La’Michael Pettway. He was also on time and on target with his intermediate passes.
Freshmen standout on offense
Freshman running back Chase Hayden helped boost his chances at playing time this season. He carried 16 times for 115 yards, including an impressive 74-yard touchdown run. The score came on a run up the middle that Hayden bounced outside, broke through a couple tackles and outran the defensive backs down the sideline. It came against the first-team defense. His ability to cut in open space is good.
Wide receiver Koilan Jackson, another freshman, also stood out. He had 3 receptions for 56 yards, scoring on a 45-yard pass from reserve quarterback Carson Proctor. Jackson stuck out his right arm to make a one-handed catch on the touchdown despite good coverage from starting cornerback Ryan Pulley.
If those two continue to impress throughout fall camp, expect to see them on the field when Arkansas opens its season Aug. 31.
Offensive line holds up well
Arkansas’ starting offensive line was good in pass protection most of the afternoon. The unit only allowed 1 sack, which came as a result of good coverage in the red zone. Allen regularly had time to remain in the pocket, go through his progression and find the open man. They were average in the running game, helping spring 5 carries of 10 yards or more.
OLB Randy Ramsey shining in 3-4
Outside linebacker Randy Ramsey was a pass-rushing menace. He has a quick first step, making it difficult for opposing tackles to stay in front of him when he rushes off the edge. He had 2 “touch” sacks Saturday and forced a fumble on 1. Most of his dominant play came against the second offensive line.
Big plays a concern
Overall, Saturday was an improvement from how the defense looked a season ago. However, they didn’t do much to alleviate big-play concerns. The unit was terrible in that department last season. That was largely the reason they allowed an FBS-worst 39 rushing touchdowns.
The offense had four plays of at least 45 yards, all of them going for touchdowns. Switching to the 3-4 defense was supposed to help limit such plays, it didn’t Saturday.
- Inside linebacker Dre Greenlaw, cornerback Britto Tutt, tight end Jeremy Patton, tight end Will Gragg, kicker Cole Hedlund and wide receiver Brandon Martin did not participate in the scrimmage.
- It was a bit of a rough day for freshman cornerback Kamren Curl. Serving as the backup to Pulley, he got beat in man-to-man coverage on both of Pettway’s deep touchdown catches. He did redeem himself late in the scrimmage with a touchdown-saving tackle on Jordan Jones at the 5-yard line.
- Cole Hedlund, who has been the projected starting kicker, did not suit up for the scrimmage. Walk-on freshman Blake Mazza served as the starter and was impressive. He made kicks of 36, 30, 24 and 24 yards. His 30-yard make came on the last play of the scrimmage with the team standing around the play yelling at him. Connor Limpert was the backup. He was good from 24 yards and missed a 31-yard attempt off the left upright from the right hash.
- Blake Johnson served as the first-team punter. Wide receivers De’Vion Warren, Jonathan Nance and River Warnock received punts.
- Senior captain Kevin Richardson is the starter at nickel back. It’s expected the Hogs will feature that position regularly over a second outside linebacker.
- Sophomore linebacker De’Jon Harris had a nice day in coverage. He broke up a pair of passes in third-down situations.
- The starting cornerbacks — Pulley and Henre’ Toliver — were mostly good in coverage as well as run support. Even the touchdown Pulley gave up to Jackson was good coverage.
- Tight end C.J. O’Grady was pulled out of the scrimmage at one point by coach Bret Bielema. He apparently failed to line up correctly. Bielema yelled: “It’s your year, C.J. It’s your year,” as he walked off the field.
- Kendrick Jackson started at fullback, but sophomore Hayden Johnson also played regularly. The starter most of last season, Johnson had a huge hit on freshman Kyrei Fisher after catching a pass in the flat.
- Arkansas was called for 5 penalties totaling 50 yards. That’s minimal considering it was the first scrimmage of the season. The offense was called for 3 (false start, illegal motion and holding) and the defense for 2 (pass interference and personal foul for a late hit).
(Note: Stats were only kept during action that featured the first or second team.)
Austin Allen: 19-23, 308 yards, 2 passing TDs, rushing TD
Ty Storey: 8-14, 41 yards
Cole Kelley: 9-14, 66 yards
Jack Lindsey: 1-3, 9 yards
Carson Proctor: 1-2, 45 yards, TD
Devwah Whaley: 19-76
Chase Hayden: 16-115, TD
David Williams: 11-52
Maleek Williams: 9-16
Austin Allen: 1-8
Jordan Jones: 1-2
La’Michael Pettway: 5-167, 2 TD
Jonathan Nance: 5-44
Jordan Jones: 4-53
Cheyenne O’Grady: 4-25
Koilan Jackson: 3-56, TD
Deon Stewart: 3-31
Austin Cantrell: 3-31
Kofi Boateng: 2-21
Tobias Enlow: 2-16
River Warnock: 2-11
Chase Hayden: 1-7
Gary Cross: 1-6
Kendrick Jackson: 1-1
Jarrod Barnes: 1-(-2)