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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

Hog Calls

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FAYETTEVILLE -- A 160-plus play scrimmage should amply allow a team's various position groups to show what they can do.

The Razorbacks' receivers did in last Saturday's scrimmage though all weren't there to do it.

Even with 16 passes caught by running backs, 15 Arkansas wide receivers and tight ends caught 37 passes for 553 yards.

The passes were thrown by top two quarterbacks Ryan Mallett, 29-of-41 for 308 yards and five touchdowns, and Tyler Wilson, 17-of-20 for 190 yards and a touchdown, and redshirt freshman Jim Youngblood of Camden Fairview, five-of-nine for 59 yards, and walk-on Nick Petrino, three-of-six for 57 yards and a touchdown versus the scrimmage's lone interception.

The Hogs did all that with their best receiver from 2008 making little impact and without their best single-game receiver of 2008.

Coach Bobby Petrino certainly knows what junior tight end D.J. Williams, the 2008 Mackey Award semifinalist with a team-leading 61 catches for 723 yards last year, can do.

So he only called two passes Williams' way Saturday, with Williams catching one for 10 yards.

Wideout Lucas Miller, an astounding 10 catches for 201 yards against Mississippi State last year, has been in and out of August practices because of soreness in his surgically repaired knee. The senior from Greenwood did not scrimmage last Saturday.

"It will be nice to get Lucas back," Petrino said. "He could have gone today but he didn't deserve to get to scrimmage because he had missed some practices."

Yet even with Williams' receiving role reduced and no Miller, the Hogs caught fire.

It's easy for the offense to catch fire, Mallett implied, when you've got so many matches to strike.

"We've got 20-something receivers," Mallett said, "who can all catch the ball and be open with the plays we call. It's the quarterback's job to get them the ball. We do that, we've got too many playmakers not to go score."

Though noting plenty of offensive flaws, starting with the running game, and saying so many dump passes to the running backs indicate protection problems, Bobby Petrino liked what he saw from the passing game.

"We have got a good receiving corps," Petrino said. "You saw guys that can make plays."

All kinds of plays from all different sizes from 5-foot-7 Reggie Fish (five catches for 112 yards) to the 6-2-and-tallers like Greg Childs, four catches for 38 yards, London Crawford, three catches for 29 yards and a touchdown, Ben Cleveland, two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown, and Cobi Hamilton, two catches for 26 yards and a touchdown.

The mid-sized models showcased showroom quality, too.

Jarius Wright, 5-10, caught five for 85 yards and a touchdown, Joe Adams, 5-11, caught six for 47 including some amazing concentration to stay with a defender's deflection to make a reception and 5-11 Carlton Salters caught three for 15 yards and a touchdown.

Mallett, the sophomore transfer from the University of Michigan who had to redshirt last fall, and Wright, the sophomore from Warren, showed consistent chemistry on the deep ball last spring. They picked up where they left off with a 57-yard TD against the first D last Saturday.

"I got off the ball as hard as I could," Wright said, "and got a good release and a great throw from the quarterback. He gave me a chance to run and that's what I do best."

Augmenting this group's value is what each does best individually complements the group collectively.

Right off the bat, Petrino cited three receivers with three different attributes of speed, shiftiness and height and hands.

"Jarius Wright has the speed," Petrino said. "Joe Adams can really run with the ball. The more we can get him the ball, the more he can run with it. I thought Greg Childs stood out. We had a lot of third down conversions out of Childs."

TEJADA COMEBACK

After missing a 27-yarder his first kick of the scrimmage, junior placekicker Alex Tejada of Springdale kicked 36, 42, 48 and 49-yarders without a miss.

Petrino approvingly remembers the last four, but the coach didn't forget the first.

The coach deems short field goals too makeable to be missed, and Tejada too talented to miss them.

"You can't miss the first one," Petrino said. "He came back and finished strong which is a good thing, but you can't miss an easy chip shot. Some of that was the snap was off line but there is really no excuse. From that far, you've got to kick it through the uprights."



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