Growing pains hit even the most talented youngsters: Arkansas football practices insight

Photo credit: @Shod161

FAYETTEVILLE – One of the biggest adjustments between high school and college for running backs has nothing to do with running the ball.

This part is usually easy, but where even tall freshmen usually struggle is in pass protection and this was exposed during the media listening period during the practice of Tuesday afternoon.

On the same day, Best of Arkansas Sports ranked him second in the pecking order of running backs, Rashod Dubinion struggled when asked to block linebackers during a drill inside the Walker pavilion. There were several reps in which the four-star rookie felt the linebacker and found himself on the turf, with only a few dead ends.

On the other hand, the second Rocket Sanders looked like a seasoned veteran of the drill he now has a full year under his belt. On one rep in particular, he destroyed the Mason Schuck walk-on. Sanders kicked the real freshman so hard that his feet left the ground and ended up on his back for a scenic pancake.

Here are several more snippets from Tuesday’s 15-minute workout open to the media…

  • Even though the storms had already passed through northwest Arkansas at practice time, the Razorbacks were still practicing inside the Walker Pavilion.
  • During a one-on-one period between receivers and defensive backs, Bryce Stephens opened up on an oblique route for what looked like an easy touchdown catch on a fly ball thrown by KJ Jefferson. It may not seem significant, but Stephens has had to deal with downturns at times over the past year. On this take, however, his hands seemed very sturdy, and so far throughout fall camp.
  • It might not have been as enjoyable a play as his two-minute drill interception to end day one of camp, but cornerback Hudson Clark made an impressive play on a one-on-one rep. against Jaedon Wilson. He stayed on him all the way then got in front of the ball to knock it down. Maybe he could have been intercepted, but it would have been a very difficult game. The pass-breaking was a good play in itself.
  • True freshman Sam Mbake looks more physically imposing than his 6-foot-3, 202-pound frame. It was evident when he went up and down with a 50/50 ball for a touchdown during the one-on-one period.
  • Warren Thompson also ran a nice route during this span, using a double move to create just enough space against Myles Slusher to go down with a perfectly placed pass from Jefferson in the end zone. The course was impressive, but the pass was even better.

Read our observations from Day 3 here.

Check out our highlights from Day 5 of Fall Camp:

Here are some injury notes on the Razorbacks based on what was seen during media watch times and what head coach Sam Pittman said in interviews. Best of Arkansas Sports will be updating this section throughout camp…

  • Although “ahead of schedule,” according to Pittman, running back Dominique Johnson is still recovering from offseason knee surgery and won’t be able to participate in practice for about a week.
  • He was kept out of most of the spring ball for precautionary reasons as he is still struggling with lingering back problems, but right tackle Dalton Wagner practiced the first days of camp .
  • Defensive back Jacorrei Turner always wears a non-contact green jersey. Pittman told reporters he suffered a shoulder injury that the Razorbacks were cautious of.
  • For a third straight day, the only other player in green was offensive lineman Marcus Henderson. Pittman revealed after practice on Friday that he was struggling with a chest injury. It’s “nothing serious,” but he’ll likely be kept off contact drills for at least a week.
  • Wide receiver Jaquayln Crawford is back with the team after suffering a broken leg in a car accident during spring break that required a rod to be placed in his leg. “I think Crawford did a good job today, fighting through it all,” Pittman said Friday. “He was cleared, I don’t know if he’s 100%, to be perfectly honest with you.”
  • After missing most of the spring ball due to an undisclosed injury, offensive lineman Terry Wells is back in practice. He is a redshirt freshman from Wynne High School who only appeared in one game last season.
  • Although he was an early registrant, linebacker Mani Powell missed the entire Spring Ball as he recovered from a torn ACL suffered early in his senior season at Fayetteville High. He has been a full participant in fall camp so far.
  • Quarterback Kade Renfro is still recovering from a torn ACL sustained during bowl practice at Arkansas last December. He’s not expected to be back in action until the first or second game of the season, so he’s been dropped from the camp’s 110-man roster. He will spend his time in the training room in rehab.
  • In a bit of a surprise, one player who makes the 110-man roster is defensive tackle Taurean Carter, who is currently out with a knee injury that required surgery this summer. Pittman did not say what the exact injury was, but told reporters that staff believed it was important for him to attend meetings and practice during camp.
  • Another player missing from fall camp is rookie Chase Lowery, but it’s not due to injury. He has just been left on the camp’s 110-man roster and will join the squad when lessons start on August 22. Kamron Bibby, punter Patrick Foley and defensive linemen Randall Dennis Jr. and Logan Horst.

Transferring WRs standing out

There’s a glaring hole in the offense this year with Treylon Burks moving to the NFL and the Razorbacks are hoping to fill it with trades.

They landed former five-star prospect Jadon Haselwood from Oklahoma and he was here in the spring, as well as Matt Landers – who started his career in Georgia – from Toledo in time for the summer.

Both players got off to a good start in fall camp, as they were the first players mentioned by defensive backs coach Dominique Bowman when asked which wide receivers stood out in the first four practices.

“Landers is a good player,” Bowman said. “He’s fast, he’s long, he’s big. He’s a good player. Haselwood did a great job. These guys are two guys who have stood out and made plays in fall camp so far.

Considering he was so well-liked out of high school and came to Arkansas as a mid-year draftee, Haselwood is more of a household name at this point than Landers.

Although he didn’t produce much at Georgia, Landers came on strong last season at Toledo and finished the year with 514 yards and five touchdowns on just 20 receptions – a whopping 25.7 yards per catch. . Those kinds of stats are made possible by his speed, which was the first trait cornerback Malik Chavis mentioned when asked about him. Fellow cornerback Hudson Clark agreed with his assessment.

“He can create a lot of separation,” Clark said. “He has big enough steps. He’s definitely a new type of receiver we’ve seen this fall camp, so he’s been good for us.

Arkansas is Bowman’s home

Although his hometown is Memphis because he moved there when he was quite young, Dominique Bowman was actually born in Forrest City. His parents, Dennis and Deshay, still live in Memphis as well, but the family remains mostly Arkansas fans.

This connection to the Razorbacks, in addition to being his first Power Five job, made it even more special for Bowman when he was hired away from Marshall to coach defensive backs this offseason.

“Razorbacks all day,” Bowman said. “I’m a basketball player at heart, so I grew up a fan of Nolan Richardson, 40 Minutes of Hell, so Corey Beck, Scotty Thurman, all those guys, I (grew up) watching those guys play. … So when I got the job, I got 2 million phone calls about tickets and stuff and I’m like, ‘I haven’t even gotten there yet.’”

Survey of pre-season coaches

For the first time in seven years, Arkansas landed in the USA Today Coaches preseason poll, registering at No. 23 in Monday’s publication.

The ranking follows a 9-4 season capped by a win over Penn State in the Outback Bowl — easily the Razorbacks’ best campaign in a decade.

Cincinnati, which comes to Fayetteville Sept. 3 for the season opener, is just ahead of Arkansas at No. 22. Other opponents on the Razorbacks’ schedule that feature in the top 25 include Alabama (No. 1) , Texas A&M (No. 7) and Ole Miss (No. 24).

Three other Arkansas opponents are among the top six teams in the “receiving votes” section, with BYU, LSU and Auburn having the 29th, 30th and 31st votes. South Carolina also received five votes, meaning seven of the 11 FBS teams the Razorbacks play in 2022 have been included in the preseason top 25 from at least one of the 66 coaches who participated in the poll.

The Associated Press (AP) will unveil its pre-season poll next Monday.

Check out what WR coach Kenny Guiton and receivers Ketron Jackson Jr. and Jadon Haselwood said after Arkansas football practice on Tuesday:

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More Fall Camp 2022 coverage for Arkansas football from BoAS…

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