Ethan Westerman is a reporter for the Hawgs Sports Network. He has bachelor's degrees in journalism and marketing from the University of Arkansas.
Notes and observations from Monday's football practice
Arkansas running back Raheim Sanders participates in a drill, Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, during a fall camp practice in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ football team on Monday went through its first practice of the week in preparation for Saturday’s game against Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Reporters watched the first three periods of the workout, which did not include the fastball start segment. Here are some notes and observations from the viewing window:
• Running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders did more in position drills than we’ve seen in multiple weeks. He was active in drills that required running, cutting and side-to-side movement, and looked to be moving well.
Sam Pittman said Monday that he did not know if Sanders would play against Texas A&M, but his activity level compared to previous practices may be a good sign. Pittman may have a further update Wednesday.
• Running back AJ Green, who had three carries for zero yards at LSU and once exited the game favoring a shoulder, was in a green no-contact jersey. Pittman said Monday that Green is experiencing soreness in the shoulder.
In one running backs drill, players were tasked with chopping their feet between dummies on the ground then covering up the ball and running under a bar about 5-feet tall. A staff member popped ball carriers with a blocking pad as they ran under the bar. Green was not hit with the pad during his reps.
• Pittman walked by running back Rashod Dubinion during drills and fist-bumped him. He came back around a bit later and said, “Way to go 7. Seven came to play,” referencing Dubinion’s performance at LSU.
Texas A&M has the nation’s No. 38 run defense (109.8 yards per game), which is the best Arkansas will have played to date.
• Strength coach Ben Sowders and Pittman, before and during the first period, respectively, could be heard shouting, “Aggie week,” toward players. Pittman was fairly animated during the viewing window and seemed to be setting the tone energy-wise for an important week.
• As reporters entered the practice fields, Sowders was heard yelling, “Take over the game this week, D-line!”
Texas A&M enters the matchup 72nd nationally in rushing yards per game (149.5) and has allowed 1.5 sacks per game. Arkansas is coming off a game in which it matched its fewest sacks (2) and allowed the most rushing yards (189) in a game this season.
It seems as if the coaching staff thinks this week presents a good opportunity for the line to be disruptive.
• Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek watched practice from the sideline on the grass practice field. It is the second consecutive Monday he has made an appearance at practice.
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