Practice notes and observations - 4/14

Arkansas practiced inside Walker Pavilion on Thursday, its final workout prior to Saturday’s spring showcase at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The weekend practice, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

Here are some notes and takeaways from practice:

• Players who were not dressed out included offensive linemen Ricky Stromberg, Dalton Wagner and Terry Wells. Running back Dominique Johnson and receiver Jaquayln Crawford walked in toward the end of the day.

Johnson has been out this spring as he recovers from injury, and Crawford had a rod inserted in his leg after a broken leg suffered in a car accident during spring break. He was walking around slowly, but to be walking at all at this point is a good sign.

• Trey Knox was back with the tight ends group. It was the first time we have seen him actively working in drills since his involvement in a car accident during the team’s break. He was getting mental reps in on the sideline Tuesday. It should be noted the Razorbacks were in helmets and no shoulder pads.

Knox made a nice one-handed catch as the tight ends worked on getting out of a down stance and making double moves moving toward the end zone.

• Perhaps since Arkansas did not work out in pads, safety Jalen Catalon, receiver Jadon Haselwood and linebacker Pooh Paul were out of their green no-contact tops. Haselwood made a few first-down worthy catches both in 7-on-7 and team periods.

Catalon has been in a green jersey much of the spring, and Paul this week returned to the field following a concussion in the Razorbacks’ first scrimmage. Paul spoke with reporters after practice and his maturity jumped out. He credited his father and six sisters for growing into the man he is now.

• Paul, who was operating with the 1s prior to the concussion, took the field in the opening team segment alongside Bumper Pool and Drew Sanders behind a three-down front. Paul said that is a new look defensive coordinator Barry Odom has been diving into.

Based on what Sam Pittman said Tuesday, that alignment gets Arkansas’ top three linebackers on the field at once, which is intriguing.

• The top plays of the day came from KJ Jefferson and Malik Hornsby — as a quarterback-receiver combo. Jefferson twice connected with Hornsby on deep balls, jetting past first-team corner Hudson Clark in both instances.

Hornsby spun his body around to catch the first ball, which was a tad underthrown, and came 6-7 yards from a score. The second grab, Hornsby found the end zone. That combination is really going to be interesting to watch develop, because Jefferson was strong in his downfield throws last fall, and Hornsby has a lot of speed to burn and has shown the ability to bring in passes pretty consistently.

• Clark, between the plays allowed to Hornsby, broke up a Jefferson pass intended for receiver Ketron Jackson. Clark keyed in on Jefferson’s eyes the whole way, jumped the pass and knocked it to the turf with his inside arm. Great technique.

• Other moments that stood out were Hornsby’s first-down throw to receiver Jaedon Wilson for what would have been a gain of 15-20 yards, and back-to-back receptions by Jackson for approximately 10 and 20 yards, respectively.

• When the team moved to the grass field outdoors about midway through the day, defensive line coach Deke Adams kept a few linemen inside to work on initial blowback and swim moves. Eric Gregory, Landon Jackson, Marcus Miller and Eric Thomas were among the players getting the extra work in. For Jackson, who is coming back from a torn ACL, Thursday was his second practice of the spring.


Scottie, thank you so much, I am so starved for info on this team! I can’t recall the last time we had a stud qb returning, much less KJ plus this veteran OL, loaded backfield, lots of TE/WR’s oozing potential, what appears to be a deep secondary and our best LB depth since the 90’s.

good stuff as always


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