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.
Hogs see progress from QBs
Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen runs drills during practice Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Brandon Allen completed his first six passes for 90 yards Saturday and finished 19 of 28 for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns in Arkansas' second scrimmage of camp at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Playing before a crowd estimated at 3,500 and with loud music and crowd noise piped in, Allen directed the first offense to touchdowns on drives covering 75 yards and 49 yards in the late open-scrimmage portion of the practice.
Allen threw touchdown passes of 27 yards to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle and 11 yards to Cody Hollister to cap the open-scrimmage drives. Earlier, he threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to tailback Korliss Marshall during red zone practice.
The starters on offense had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by John Henson on its drive that started at the second-team defense's 25. Allen misfired on a couple of passes that could have been critical in game situations, including a slant behind Hollister on third down that would have gone for first-down yardage, and an overthrow of Sprinkle inside the 10 that might have gone for a score.
"I think our three quarterbacks all took a step forward," Coach Bret Bielema said. "I thought B.A., except for maybe one throw down in the red zone and maybe one throw over the middle during a third-and-medium situation, was pretty effective."
Austin Allen completed 10 of 21 passes for 86 yards, with a 4-yard touchdown throw to Anthony Antwine, and threw incomplete on his final five passes. Rafe Peavey completed 5 of 9 passes for 53 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown to Jojo Robinson.
Bielema said Austin Allen "has declared himself" as the No. 2 quarterback "unless something drastically changes the next two weeks."
Arkansas Fan Day will be held from 2-4 p.m. today in Walton Arena. All fans in attendance will receive the official 2014 Razorback football team poster and a pocket schedule card.
Arkansas coaches have raved about freshman receiver Jojo Robinson's open-field ability in the team's closed workouts, and Robinson showed it in front of the fans Saturday.
The slot receiver caught a short pass over the middle from Rafe Peavey during a move-the-ball segment late in the scrimmage, juked safety Rohan Gaines and raced through defenders for a 23-yard touchdown.
Coach Bret Bielema ran more than 40 yards down the field to congratulate Robinson on the score, but also to point out that he doesn't want the freshman to stretch the football away from his body when he's scoring.
"Obviously a very, very gifted young man," Bielema said. "I think he's settled down. He kind of fought the ball the first week, but he's really caught the ball the last six, seven days very well.
"Jojo just brings an element to make something out of nothing when he's in the open field that is pretty exciting."
Coach Bret Bielema grabbed a field microphone just before the Razorbacks began the scrimmage and laid out the format of the day's workout for fans.
After the introduction, Bielema asked fans not to videotape the practice.
"If you see someone videotaping, tell them that ain't right," Bielema said. "Especially if they're wearing an Auburn shirt, knock the s*** out of them."
Razorbacks fans seemed to appreciate the joke, giving Bielema a cheer for the line.
Offensive guard Denver Kirkland was held out of the scrimmage because of a minor head injury.
Bret Bielema said Kirkland butted helmets with 340-pound Reeve Koehler on Thursday and had a "significant headache" that did not rise to the level of a concussion.
Junior transfer Sebastian Tretola started with the first offense in Kirkland's place, and Bielema said he liked what he saw from Tretola.
Defensive end Trey Flowers (21) and tailback Korliss Marshall (20) celebrated birthdays Saturday.
Flowers had two tackles in a limited role during the scrimmage while Marshall was one of the day's big stars with three touchdowns, two rushing, including a 57-yard run on the final play of the workout.
The Razorbacks scored touchdowns on the final two snaps on Jojo Robinson's 23-yard catch and run and Marshall's breakaway run.
Linebacker Brooks Ellis dressed out but did not participate in the tackle portion of the scrimmage.
Bret Bielema said Ellis had a kneecap injury in high school that was bothering him.
Ellis' absence gave transfer Josh Williams more snaps with the starters and allowed freshman Khalia Hackett to get in more reps with the second team.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Tevin Beanum took advantage this week of taking increased snaps with sophomores Deatrich Wise and Brandon Lewis missing time.
Beanum led the way Saturday with two sacks for 13 yards in losses among his five total tackles. Beanum also shot through a crease to tackle Damon Mitchell for no gain on a toss play during which Mitchell had a couple of blockers in front of him.
"Tevin's exciting," Bret Bielema said. "He could be a very, very significant player here over the next three or four years."
The Razorbacks held out several key players who are probably close to ready, such as tailback Jonathan Williams (hamstring), tight end AJ Derby (knee), linebacker Brooks Ellis (knee) and cornerback Tevin Mitchel (hamstring).
Defensive end Deatrich Wise (knee) did not dress out but was on the sideline chatting with recruits. Tailback Juan Day (hamstring), fullback Kody Walker (undisclosed) and safety Davyon McKinney (undisclosed) dressed out but did not participate.
Freshman safety Josh Liddell had two pass breakups in the span of three plays with the second offense in open-scrimmage mode.
Liddell, the Pine Bluff Dollarway product, said both breakups should have been interceptions. On the first play, Liddell broke on a pass by Austin Allen and would have had clear sailing for a touchdown if he had come up with the interception.
Sports on 08/17/2014