Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Razorbacks football report:
Allen says more reps will help 2
Brandon Allen, Arkansas’ returning starting quarterback, said backups Austin Allen and Rafe Peavey will benefit from extra reps during the remainder of spring practices.
FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen said his brother, Austin, and Rafe Peavey should benefit from an increased workload for the second half of spring practices after position moves put AJ Derby at tight end and Damon Mitchell with the receivers.
“It’s huge for them really,” Allen said. “Just them getting in, getting the reps, they’re going to make mistakes, but they’re going to learn from their mistakes.
“The fastest way for them to mature and be more comfortable is just for them to get in there and run the reps, so them getting more reps is going to be crucial for them.”
New Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith looks to be leaning toward bringing more pressure next season than the Razorbacks did in 2013, and it helps that the unit will have more players with game experience.
Smith’s making sure the Hogs are getting practice at blitzing.
“I think it’s invaluable,” Smith said. “If you’re going to do something or plan to do something, you need to practice it and you need to fine-tune it.
“Like I said, we’re still a work in progress. We’ve got a long ways to go. But we’ve just got to keep pushing and get there.”
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said the offense had 51 gradable plays in last week’s scrimmage and its results were a mixed bag.
“I thought we protected the quarterback a little bit better than we did the first day,” Chaney said.
“I don’t think we ran the ball efficiently the way we should have. We weren’t as explosive. But we were better on third down than we were the first scrimmage. So there was some good and some bad.
“At the end of the day, we’re about 50-50, winning half the plays and losing half the plays. A lot of our losses are some mental mistakes that we’ve got to continue to clean up and continue to develop.”
Picking up Flowers
With senior Trey Flowers being held out of scrimmages, the Razorbacks’ pack of young defensive linemen - like sophomores Darius Philon, Brandon Lewis, JaMichael Winston, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Taiwan Johnson, and freshmen Tevin Beanum and Ke’Tyrus Marks - are seeing plenty of action, with the ends taking reps inside and out.
“You could be anywhere at any time,” Lewis said.
“We’re just rotating. Just be ready when they call your number.”
Lewis said the spring has been good for the young players to show what they have.
“If Trey gets tired somebody else is ready to come in,” he said.
AJ Derby said his older brother, Zach, a former tight end at Iowa, “always used to beat me up growing up,” and has helped him in his move from quarterback to tight end.
“I’ve talked to him a lot,” Derby said Tuesday. “I can ask him what I can do better and just tell him what I’ve been struggling with and stuff like that, so he’s been giving me little tips outside of learning with the coaches.”
Tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. said blocking as a tight end is about desire and ability.
“I may have want-to, but at 39 years old, I can’t block Braylon Mitchell,” Lunney said. “I don’t have the ability to. To me, [Derby] possesses the desire to do it and he possesses the ability. He’s big and he’s strong. I think you see his background as a linebacker at Iowa come out at tight end.”
After combining for eight catches for 152 yards in the opening scrimmage, sophomore Drew Morgan and junior college transfer Cody Hollister had no catches in last week’s scrimmage.
Both Morgan and Hollister have shown good hands in the practice work open to members of the media, but they were only targeted a couple of times last Saturday, with no drops.
Morgan had a team-high five catches for 109 yards in the first scrimmage, while Hollister added three receptions for 43 yards.
Sports, Pages 19 on 04/17/2014