FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (UA) – The first day of fully-padded practice for the University of Arkansas football team took place Monday morning, with the squad's groups of newcomers and veterans coming together for the first time. Practice intensity increased, defensive coordinator and secondary coach Willy Robinson explained.
"It was nice to have numbers, I know the veterans appreciated it," Coach Robinson said. "It paid off to have the rookies there to watch the veterans do everything live and see the pace we operate at."
To go head-to-head against Arkansas' offense is tough for any team. The UA offense set school records en route to leading the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense (36.0) and passing offense (295.5) last season. Arkansas' defense has risen to the occasion during fall camp, strengthening the unit as a whole.
The work ethic among the defense is noticeable, Coach Robinson noted. The UA coaching staff, led by head coach Bobby Petrino, plans for its new team members to meld with its veterans to form a strong unit. Tough play in the defensive secondary has added to that process early in August.
"They are playing with a lot of confidence," Coach Robinson said. "They are focused and are playing a lot quicker because they already have knowledge of what we're trying to do. They are finding themselves in position to play."
Coach Robinson sees the squad's newcomers pushing the veterans in a good way, after making the appropriate adjustments. The ability that several hold in securing playing time has raised the bar for the entire unit.
"The pace is something they have to make an adjustment to," Coach Robinson said. "They have moved up a group, with some in the second group."
The Arkansas football team shifts into two-a-day practice mode tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and in the afternoon at 4 p.m. The public is allowed to attend Razorback practice sessions through August 21 (excluding August 19). For information regarding Arkansas football, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.