Arkansas was inconsistent in its season-opening win over a Football Championship Subdivision program at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, and our grades reflect it. Lots of work awaits these Razorbacks before powerful Alabama comes to town Sept. 15.
Would Knile Davis, back from a year on the sideline, make it more than a few plays before his ankle gave way again? Could Brandon Mitchell make the conversion from backup quarterback to dependable starting receiver? Those were two of the pressing questions for Arkansas entering the season opener with Jacksonville State, a Football Championship Subdivision program. The answers to those two Saturday night were “yes” and emphatically “yes,” as the Razorbacks rolled to a 49-24 victory over the Gamecocks before 71,062 fans at Reynolds Razorback Stadium. But careless ball handling, missed tackles, shoddy pass defense, inconsistent offensive line play and more left concern on the Arkansas sideline.
Arkansas has been tested more than usual by the defense during fall camp. There are a variety of explanations for why this has happened, including the defense retooling its coaching staff and the overall talent level continuing to improve on that side of the ball. Quarterback Tyler Wilson sees another reason for the change as well.
Razorback players reflect on those early moments in their careers when they realized college football was on a different level than any football they'd played before. These are their "Welcome to the SEC" Moments:
Arkansas football players aren't just good at their sport. Several of them dabble in music in their down time. While none may put out an album like former Razorback Mitch Petrus recently did, they all have a passion for music.
Arkansas' defense was up to the task Saturday in a 162-play scrimmage at Razorback Stadium. In addition to racking up 25 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and a pair of interceptions, the defense held the offense scoreless on seven consecutive possessions.
It’s only one scrimmage. But Arkansas sure looks like a team with options at wide receiver. Quarterbacks Tyler Wilson and Brandon Allen spread the ball around to multiple receivers, who showed off size and athleticism throughout the evening. Wilson (unofficially) completed better than 75 percent of his passes for two touchdowns. Allen also threw a pair of touchdowns, including two to 6-foot-6 freshman Mekale McKay. Receivers Cobi Hamilton and Brandon Mitchell and tight end Chris Gragg all put in impressive performances.
Arkansas didn’t engage in full contact on Monday, but there was a big enough collision to force linebacker Tenarius Wright into an early exit. Wright made contact with running back Knile Davis, suffering a possible concussion, during inside run drills. Players weren’t tackling to the ground, but the impact was enough to shake up Wright, who Coach John L. Smith said was being evaluated post-practice.
We know the established stars and names on the Arkansas roster. There are plenty of other players without the high profile that could be just as critical to success this season. Below are players worth keeping an eye on when camp begins today.
No, there hasn’t been a college football award watch list announcement every day of the summer. It just seems that way. Below we roundup what players with state ties have been nominated. Keep in mind some lists allow players to be added later in the year, so strong performances over the first half of the season from players at Arkansas or Arkansas State could land a player under consideration.
Arkansas placed eight players on the All-SEC team chosen by the media. Included are three Razorbacks — running back Knile Davis, quarterback Tyler Wilson and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton — on the first team offense. Once again it looks like the team could have one of the nation’s best offenses. That’s the good news. Not so good news? Arkansas had one player on defense picked to the first, second or third teams.
Gragg is the Razorbacks’ leading returning receiver from last year as he caught a single-season career-high 41 passes, ranking third on the team, for a career-high 518 yards, which was the fourth-highest total among Razorbacks in 2011.
Waiting on college football season to start can be agonizing. To pass the time we’ve been thumbing through a collection of national preseason magazines. We’ll be looking at a different magazine each day the rest of the week, checking out how they break down the season. It’s not quite as exciting as kickoff or those first two-a-days (or even media days), but it’s the best we’ve got for now. Here’s what Phil Steele has to say about the…
Waiting on college football season to start can be agonizing. To pass the time we’ve been thumbing through a collection of national preseason magazines. We’ll be looking at a different magazine each day the rest of the week, checking out how they break down the season. It’s not quite as exciting as kickoff or those first two-a-days (or even media days), but it’s the best we’ve got for now. Here’s what Lindy’s Sports has to say about the…
Waiting on college football season to start can be agonizing. To pass the time we’ve been thumbing through a collection of national preseason magazines. We’ll be looking at a different magazine each day the rest of the week, checking out how they break down the season. It’s not quite as exciting as kickoff or those first two-a-days (or even media days), but it’s the best we’ve got for now. Here’s what Athlon has to say about the Arkansas Razorbacks...
Don’t bother looking for a Wal-Mart in the south Arkansas town of Warren. To find one of those you have to drive 20 or so miles east to Monticello. Same thing with a local movie theater. Warren doesn’t have one of those either. Know what the South Arkansas town of 6,000 does have? A history of producing great college wide receivers and two of the top 150 draft picks in the recent NFL Draft. Former Arkansas Razorbacks and Warren teammates Jarius Wright and Greg Childs were fourth-round picks by the Minnesota Vikings, further establishing Warren’s tradition as a hotbed for wide receiver talent in Arkansas.
Why The Red Team Won: Did you glance at the rosters before kickoff? Arkansas coaches loaded the Red team with starters from the offense and defense, effectively ending the game before it began. Quarterback Tyler Wilson led the Red team to a 37-0 halftime lead in completing 75.6 percent of his passes. Red receiver Cobi Hamilton had 11 catches for 156 yards to lead all receivers and tight end Chris Gragg had 130 yards receiving and two touchdowns on nine catches. Red offensive possessions resulted in 698 yards of total offense. Arkansas’ first-team defense held the White squad scoreless and allowed only 126 yards of total offense.
Arkansas sophomore cornerback Tevin Mitchel, who wasn’t on campus for last year’s Razorback spring game, wasn’t sure how many fans to expect for Saturday’s Red-White clash, but he was hopeful for 20,000, he said late Saturday afternoon. UA senior quarterback Tyler Wilson said he almost felt choked up when he took the field and saw a record spring crowd in the Reynolds Razorback Stadium stands. In maybe the most tumultuous time in Hog football history — with Bobby Petrino suddenly no longer guiding the program and who-knows-who taking over — a crowd of 45,250 fans watched Wilson, Mitchel and the first-team Razorbacks put on a dominating offensive and defensive performance, annihilating the backups 65-0.