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 Tuesday's football practice
Arkansas defensive back Jaylon Braxton returns to his position Thursday, March 9, 2023, during practice in the university practice facility in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas’ football team on Tuesday went through its second practice of the week in preparation for Saturday’s game against Texas A&M at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Reporters watched the fist four periods of the workout, which included the fastball start segment. Here are some notes and observations from the viewing window:
• Running back Raheim “Rocket” Sanders looked like he was full-go. He took part in fastball start, too, for the first time in weeks and carried the ball twice.
On his first touch, Sanders went right and picked up solid yardage, then he carried up the middle for little to no gain. In position drills, he appeared light on his feet and quick.
Running backs coach Jimmy Smith once praised him for a spin move in a drill in which players took a handoff, ran under a 4-foot-tall bar then attempted to dodge a handheld blocking pad that was thrown at them.
• In fastball start, KJ Jefferson bookended the first team’s series with passes that were broken up. It appeared linebacker Chris “Pooh” Paul batted down the first ball and safety Jayden Johnson was in on the second.
With the second team, running back Rashod Dubinion caught a short pass from Jacolby Criswell then had back-to-back carries. His first went for a big gain then the defense stuffed him for no gain up the middle to end the period.
• Some personnel notes from fastball start:
— Devon Manuel worked with the first-team offense at left tackle. He played 54 snaps at the position at LSU. Andrew Chamblee ran with the second team.
— Freshman Jaylon Braxton was a first-team cornerback opposite Dwight “Nudie” McGlothern. Braxton received 25 snaps at cornerback against the Tigers. Jaheim Singletary, who struggled in pass coverage last Saturday, was with the 2s and opposite TCU transfer Kee’yon Stewart.
— Defensive back Malik Chavis got action at second-team safety. He has not played this season due to a hand/wrist injury. Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said last week that there was a good chance the Rison native would be available against Texas A&M.
• Players in green no-contact jerseys: Defensive back Hudson Clark and running back AJ Green. Defensive end Jashaud Stewart rejoined the group of inactive players working out beyond the end zone on the turf field.
• Deke Adams worked with his defensive linemen on getting in a stance and watching the football before firing off.
The unit lined up across from the mock offensive line sled, and Adams took behind center, simulating the quarterback. He shouted out cadences, and linemen needed to stay in position until he moved the ball.
While the drill is not uncommon for the D-line, there seemed to be a greater sense of urgency due to what happened Saturday at LSU. On the third play after halftime, Arkansas jumped offsides and gave Jayden Daniels a free play. He capitalized with a 49-yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas.
• Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek was at practice Tuesday. He was also present during Monday’s viewing window.
• Here is a look at the offensive and defensive alignment during fastball start:
Offense (First team/second team)
QB: KJ Jefferson / Jacolby Criswell
RB: Raheim Sanders / Rashod Dubinion
WR: Andrew Armstrong / Jaedon Wilson
WR: Tyrone Broden / Davion Dozier
WR: Isaac TeSlaa / Isaiah Sategna
TE: Luke Hasz / Var'keyes Gumms
LT: Devon Manuel / Andrew Chamblee
LG: Brady Latham / E’Marion Harris
C: Beaux Limmer / Amaury Wiggins
RG: Josh Braun / Ty’Kieast Crawford
RT: Patrick Kutas / Aaron Smith
Defense (First team/second team)
DE: Trajan Jeffcoat / John Morgan
DT: Eric Gregory / Keivie Rose
DT: Cam Ball / Taurean Carter
DE: Landon Jackson / Zach Williams
LB: Jaheim Thomas / Antonio Grier
LB: Chris Paul / Jordan Crook
CB: Dwight McGlothern / Kee’yon Stewart
CB: Jaylon Braxton / Jaheim Singletary
S: Jayden Johnson / Al Walcott
S: Hudson Clark / Malik Chavis
Nickel: Lorando Johnson / TJ Metcalf
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