Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for the Hawgs Sports Network. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas and previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was the 2022 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Takeaways, stray thoughts from Hogs' spring scrimmage
Arkansas wide receiver Isaiah Sategna (16) is tackled by defensive back Courtney Snelling (31), Saturday, April 15, 2023, during the Red-White Spring Football Showcase at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas punctuated spring drills Saturday with a 110-play scrimmage inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Here are the players who stood out and other noteworthy items from the team’s work:
Sategna has standout day at wide receiver
Understandably so, transfers Isaac TeSlaa and Andrew Armstrong received the bulk of the attention this spring in the receiver room.
But former Fayetteville High School standout Isaiah Sategna had the type of performance Saturday that will be talked about throughout the summer months. The speedy redshirt freshman finished the scrimmage with 3 catches for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns.
No other Razorback had more than 41 yards receiving.
“I feel like I’m a lot better player than I was last year,” Sategna said. “Just the new schemes that we’re drawing up and stuff, they’re throwing great passes and stuff. Like I said in my earlier interview, I’ve just got to do the easy part. I’ve just got to catch the ball. They’re doing the hard part.”
More from WholeHogSports: Unofficial stats, key plays from scrimmage
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said Sategna (5-11 and 178 pounds) is noticeably bigger and that his confidence was arguably the biggest key to a solid spring.
“I think Sategna, obviously, has shown how much he’s improved since the bowl game,” Pittman said. “He’s got that ability to separate when he’s able to [play fast] and now he’s able to do that, and you now see his true speed.”
Sategna’s touchdowns were 65 yards out from KJ Jefferson and 17 yards away from Cade Fortin. Two plays before the second score, he caught a 13-yard pass that pushed Arkansas to the red zone.
“I’m glad Isaiah got to showcase his talents today, his athleticism,” Jefferson said. “He made some really good catches down the field and across the middle and stuff like that. We always knew that Isaiah had the potential to play in this league.
“Just being able to just showcase his talents today is really just amazing.”
Jackson, defensive ends cause havoc
Pittman heaped praise on his edge defenders without saying too much.
The Razorbacks’ defensive ends finished with at least 4.5 sacks in the scrimmage. Official statistics were not kept.
Landon Jackson, who stands 6-7, matched a team best with two sacks, and Nico Davillier and Zach Williams appeared to record one apiece.
Transfer end Trajan Jeffcoat also teamed with linebacker Jordan Crook for a sack.
“They’re all playing really well,” Pittman said. “[Jackson is] hard to block. And [Jeffcoat] is hard to block. [Jashaud Stewart] is hard to block. [John Morgan], hard to block. Zach’s hard to block.
“They’re doing a really good job and we’re getting better on the inside, as well, pushing it out to them. We’ve still got to address that a little bit.”
More from WholeHogSports: Pittman, players discuss spring scrimmage
Jackson, one of the top performers of the spring, recorded his sacks against quarterbacks Jefferson and Jacolby Criswell. Quarterbacks were off limits to contact and sacks were recorded when a play was blown dead.
Pittman said Saturday was a continuance of what the staff saw in the first 14 workouts.
“Landon’s so long. I feel like he’s bigger. Well, I know he is,” Pittman said. “He’s bigger than he’s been since he’s been here, and I think...his mind is very confident in his legs. He’s so long, man.”
Pittman later joked that it seemed like Davillier was one of his assistants given he was in the backfield so often.
“Nico got a lot better,” Pittman said. “I think we got a lot better as a team and per man, but Nico really showed out as well.”
Jackson is a fan of the depth the Razorbacks have at his position, adding that the capable, quality bodies should allow each end to play at an all-out level in the snaps they receive.
“We’ll go into the fourth quarter just as hard as we are in the first,” he said. “And that will be really good for our whole defense overall. I’m really excited for this season to come.”
Pittman believes Harris will be OK
Arkansas stayed healthy for the most part Saturday.
Offensive lineman E’Marion Harris, though, went down shortly after running back Rashod Dubinion picked up seven yards on an inside run. He was favoring his left knee and was tended to by members of the training staff.
Harris did not return to the field. He sat on a training table on the sideline with what looked like an ice pack wrapped around the knee.
Based on viewing windows at previous practices, Harris has worked primarily at right guard and right tackle with the second unit.
“They don’t think it’s going to be a serious question,” Pittman said. “We know, obviously, in a game you’re going to have a few bumps and bruises, but I think that was probably the only one.”
Among the players who did not take part in the scrimmage: Running back Dominique Johnson, receiver Jaedon Wilson, defensive back RJ Johnson, linebacker Mani Powell, defensive lineman Cam Ball, running back Preston Crawford, defensive back Al Walcott, and offensive linemen Luke Brown and Payton Simpson.
• Arkansas’ linebackers had a good showing Saturday. Top to bottom, the linebackers run hard to the ball and are forceful when they reach the ball carrier. Crook led the way with 10 stops, followed by freshman Carson Dean (8), Chris “Pooh” Paul (7) and Antonio Grier (5).
Grier, the South Florida transfer, tipped a Jacolby Criswell pass inside the 5 and it led to an interception by LaDarrius Bishop in the end zone.
• Taurean Carter tore the ACL in his knee in Arkansas’ final workout at this time last year. He finished with seven tackles and one sack Saturday as he ran with the first team at tackle.
“It was just great to have him back,” Pittman said. “I believe TC will be a lot better in the fall than he was even in the spring, just kind of like we talked [about] with Landon Jackson.”
• Cam Little struck the ball well on his field goal attempts. Unofficially, he made field goals of 40, 47 and 58 yards. Little also hit his lone PAT and had a touchback on a kickoff.
“It was quite a little ways down there,” Pittman said of the 58-yard kick. “It had plenty of distance. I mean, he had a little breeze, too. That will build his confidence as well.”
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