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.
Defense steps up for Hogs
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema at practice Saturday April 15, 2017.
FAYETTEVILLE -- The defense struck back Saturday for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
With pre-snap movements, twists and blitzes at its disposal for the first time, the defense racked up 12 "sacks," an interception and a fumble recovery. The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville defense also stacked up better against the run at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in a 138-play second spring scrimmage.
Cole Hedlund 24 FG
Maleek Williams 3 run (Connor Limpert kick)
La’Michael Pettway 18 pass from Austin Allen
Brandon Martin 18 pass from Cole Kelley
Limpert 20 FG
Tobias Enlow 19 pass from Carson Proctor
River Warnock 15 pass from Jack Lindsey
Kofi Boateng 11 pass from Daulton Hyatt
Rawleigh Williams 11 run
Austin Allen 7-15-0, 60 yards, TD
Ty Storey 7-11-0, 64 yards
Cole Kelley 6-9-1, 55 yards, TD
Jack Lindsey 5-5, 40 yards, TD
Carson Proctor 2-3-0, 35 yards, TD
Daulton Hyatt 2-3-0, 22 yards, TD
Devwah Whaley 18-94
Rawleigh Williams 17-79, TD
Maleek Williams 17-69, TD
Connor McPherson 13-27
Juan Day 5-35
Justice Hobbs 1-0
Daulton Hyatt 1-(-4)
Jack Lindsey 1-(-4)
Austin Allen 4-(-8)
Ty Storey 4-(-12)
Cole Kelley 6-(-27)
Brandon Martin 6-71, TD
T.J. Hammonds 3-19
River Warnock 2-28, TD
Troy Allison 2-27
LaMichael Pettway 2-22, TD
Deon Stewart 2-16
Cheyenne O’Grady 2-13
Connor McPherson 2-9
Tobias Enlow 1-19, TD
Kofi Boateng 1-11, TD
Hayden Johnson 1-8
Jonathan Nance 1-4
Tyson Morris 1-8
Austin Cantrell 1-7
Will Gragg 1-7
Jack Kraus 1-6
De’Jon Harris 12, DeAndre Coley 10, Grant Morgan 10, Michael Taylor 9, Josh Harris 9, Kevin Richardson 8, Kyrei Fisher 8, Reid Miller 8, T.J. Smith 6, Britto Tutt 6, Armon Watts 6, Bijhon Jackson 5, Austin Capps 5, Briston Guidry 5, Micahh Smith 5
Tackles for loss
Michael Taylor 4-17, T.J. Smith 4-10, Briston Guidry 3-12, Kevin Richardson 1-8, Grant Morgan 1-8, De’Jon Harris 1-5, McTelvin Agim 1-5, Armon Watts 1-5, Brandon DePrato 1-5, Daytrieon Dean 1-4, Kyrei Fisher 1-1, Tyler Phillips 1-1
T.J. Smith 4-10, Briston Guidry 3-12, Michael Taylor 3-11, Kevin Richardson 1-8, Grant Morgan 1-8, McTelvin Agim 1-5, Armon Watts 1-5, Daytrieon Dean 1-4
De’Andre Coley 1-0 yards
Ryan Pulley 2, Josh Liddell 1, De’Jon Harris 1, Kevin Richardson 1, Henre Toliver 1
Josh Harris 1
De’Andre Coley 1
The starting offense put together a 67-yard touchdown drive triggered by tailback Devwah Whaley against the first-team defense, but the Razorbacks' defenders made big strides from the April 8 scrimmage with better tackling and tighter pass coverage.
"I thought defensively we played a lot more aggressive today," Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said. "I thought that was based on confidence, but I think we gave them more calls and pressures. We brought some double-edged pressures as well as other variations that helped us out."
Safety De'Andre Coley picked off a Cole Kelley pass that was thrown behind and tipped by tight end Jack Kraus during second-team work, and Coley also recovered a fumble by Maleek Williams that was forced by linebacker Josh Harris.
Middle linebacker De'Jon Harris led the way with 12 tackles, while Coley and linebacker Grant Morgan added 10 each. Harris and Michael Taylor had nine tackles apiece.
Second-team defensive end T.J. Smith had four sacks, and backup defensive end Briston Guidry and Taylor had three each.
Starting quarterback Austin Allen completed 7 of 15 passes for 60 yards. His lone touchdown was an 18-yard strike to La'Michael Pettway during a red-zone sequence.
The game's top rushers were Whaley, who had 94 yards on 18 carries, Rawleigh Williams (17-79) and Maleek Williams (17-69). The trio combined for 242 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns one week after racking up 363 yards.
Whaley had the day's top run, a 51-yard burst around left end on which safety Santos Ramirez made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 11-yard line. Rawleigh Williams completed a six-play drive on the next snap with an 11-yard touchdown at left end.
"There was still a couple of big plays, but I think we did minimize those and I think a couple of those came on some things we're just hamstringing our defense with," Bielema said.
Rawleigh Williams suffered what Bielema called a "tweaked" ankle on his final carry late in the workout. Williams, who ran for 1,360 yards last season, limped off the field but was standing on his own with no training staff around him just a few minutes later.
Junior college transfer Brandon Martin had his best day, with a team-high 6 catches for 71 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown from Kelley during red-zone work.
The defense committed two big penalties, a 15-yard face mask call and a pass interference infraction in the end zone by cornerback Ryan Pulley on a fade pass from Allen intended for Jordan Jones.
The starting offense incurred several penalties, unlike its clean showing last week. The miscues included a false start in the red zone by left tackle Colton Jackson, to which Bielema yelled "We can't have that! Not down here!"
The first-team defense racked up two sacks by getting in the vicinity of Allen -- one by nickel back Kevin Richardson and another combo sack by defensive ends McTelvin Agim and Armon Watts.
"During the course of the week our pass pro, especially with our one unit, had been pretty good," Bielema said. "If they got near Austin, I was kind of blowing the whistle a little bit premature, probably."
The second and third units on defense combined for 10 sacks.
The offense performed well in red-zone work, starting with Cole Hedlund's 24-yard field goal on the play after Pulley's pass interference flag.
Maleek Williams had a 3-yard touchdown run for the second unit. Tobias Enlow hauled in a 19-yard touchdown from Carson Proctor; River Warnock caught a 15-yard score from Jack Lindsey; Kofi Boateng grabbed an 11-yard touchdown pass from Daulton Hyatt; and Connor Limpert made a 20-yard field goal, all in red-zone action.
The defense snuffed the first move-the-ball series, with a false start and consecutive pass breakups by Henre Toliver and Richardson setting up third and long, on which Rawleigh Williams ran for 9 yards.
Richardson had a pass breakup to start the next series, but Whaley's 10-yard run converted a third-and-4 play, then Whaley ran for 51 yards, the longest gain of the day.
The second-team offense had its move-the-ball periods ended on a combo sack by Guidry and Taylor, the Coley interception and the Coley fumble recovery.
Smith had a 4-yard sack of Kelley, who was sacked six times, to snuff out another open-scrimmage series.
Bielema said the Razorbacks would hold a physical practice next Saturday but would not scrimmage again prior to the Red-White game April 29 at Razorback Stadium.
Sports on 04/16/2017
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