Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Arkansas Red-White game report:
Bielema allows fan a free run
Arkansas Razorback fan Canaan Sandy scored a touchdown on a play during the Razorbacks spring NCAA college football game, Saturday, April 26, 2014, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Sarah Bentham)
FAYETTEVILLE - Canaan Sandy, an Arkansas fan from Cave City who has Down syndrome, came into the game in the third quarter, took a hand off from starting quarterback Brandon Allen and ran 50 yards for a touchdown.
All of the Razorbacks - even players on the sideline - ran into the end zone to celebrate with him after Sandy crossed the goal line.
“That was awesome,” Allen said. “That was a lot of fun for us, and I know it was a lot of fun for him. I thought it was a very special moment.”
Coach Bret Bielema said he came up with the idea for the play after visiting with Sandy at several Razorback Club meetings.
“He’s on a world tour, I think,” Bielema said. “Every time I turn around he’s there. He’s just one of those contagious personalities.”
Arkansas tailback Korliss Marshall made a few carries go a long way in Saturday’s Red-White game.
Marshall, a sophomore from Osceola, had 6 carries for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns to help the Red team pull away for a 66-21 victory.
“He was very explosive,” quarterback Brandon Allen said. “He’s tough to tackle, which is something you want. He was having his way and doing what he does best, and that’s moving the football.”
The Red team, comprised of first-team players, didn’t have a first down on its first two possessions before Marshall helped start a 73-yard touchdown drive with runs of 6 and 19 yards to open the third series.
“That’s my role, to be the spark, to hype everybody up, to get a good play,” Marshall said. “Every time I get the ball I just think ‘Run fast, get at least 3, 4, 5 yards a pop.’ “
Marshall popped a run 59 yards for a touchdown to start the Red team’s fifth series when he burst up the middle and got to the end zone without being touched.
Left guard Luke Charpentier had a key block, Marshall said, and then his athletic ability took over.
“Korliss adds a little extra flavor,” offensive tackle Brey Cook said. “He does things you don’t see every day. You see him streaking down the sideline and it brings a lot of excitement.”
Marshall smiled when asked if he believes Saturday’s performance should earn him more carries in the fall.
“I actually do, but I’m not going to complain if I’m not getting more carries,” he said. “I’m just going to play my role in this offense.”
Marshall missed Arkansas’ first two spring scrimmages for an undisclosed medical reason.
“It was just a little condition where I had to see the doctors,” he said.
Paper or plastic?
Redshirt sophomore defensive end Deatrich Wise dominated against the second-team offense with five sacks for losses totaling 35 yards and forcing a fumble that tackle Darius Philon returned for a touchdown.
“Deatrich Wise continues to make strides,” Coach Bret Bielema said. “Deatrich is so long, if he can get you locked out and extended … he’s going to cause problems.”
JoJo on campus
Wide receiver signee JoJo Robinson, who was released on his own recognizance by a bond judge in Miami on Thursday following his arrest on an armed robbery charge, made the trip to Northwest Arkansas with his father, Joseph, to watch the game.
Joseph Robinson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he’s convinced the charge will be dropped against his son, who, according to the Miami-Dade police report, was riding in the back seat of a car when an unnamed companion stole a pedestrian’s gold bracelet at gunpoint last Tuesday afternoon.
Robinson’s case is scheduled to go before a prosecutor for a pre-file hearing next week, and he faces arraignment on the charge May 22.
“I’m obviously not at liberty to discuss anything,” Bret Bielema said. “One of the things we always constantly pride ourselves on is doing everything right on and off the field. I would say this: If there was any concern on my behalf, if there was any validity to it, he wouldn’t be here.
“He’s a great kid. Dad obviously has spoken on his behalf. I’ll just leave it up to them.”
Senior TQ Coleman, who is playing outside linebacker along with safety, had some big hits among his four tackles.
“He’s a violent, angry, short little man,” Bret Bielema said with a laugh.
Mitchell at WR
Redshirt freshman Damon Mitchell, who moved from quarterback to receiver midway through spring practice, had three catches for 27 yards.
“He’s continued to make good strides there,” Bret Bielema said of Mitchell, listed at 6-2, 205. “I thought today was a really good day for him. He caught the ball effectively … and when he gets his hands on the ball, he’s a big body to bring down.”
Taking it away
Arkansas’ secondary came up with four interceptions, with cornerback Carroll Washington and safeties Rohan Gaines and Davyon McKinney and DeAndre Coley each coming up with one.
Bret Bielema said the Razorbacks have been playing tighter coverage and using their hands better under the direction of new defensive coordinator Robb Smith.
“One dramatic change that I thought we did philosophy-wise on defense was getting our hands on receivers and rerouting them and challenging them at the line of scrimmage,” Bielema said. “Which is going to pay off.”
Redshirt freshman Austin Allen and true freshman Rafe Peavy took second team snaps for the White team. Allen got a series with the Red team and threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Cody Hollister.
Allen completed 8 of 14 passes for 94 yards with 2 interceptions. Peavy competed 4 of 9 passes for 42 yards.
“Both of them just have to continue to get better,” Bret Bielema said. “They’re a long ways away from being SEC ready, but both are kids that learn very, very well.
“They want to be successful and they’re quarterback junkies.”
Sports, Pages 31 on 04/27/2014