Defense Controls Second Spring Scrimmage with McFadden Jones and Hillis Seeing Limited Time

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. A week after allowing 454 yards in a 70-play situational scrimmage, the defense was dominant by giving up just 269 yards in around 100 plays during Saturday’s second spring scrimmage in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

After running for 270 yards and five touchdowns a week ago, the offense ran for just 144 yards and one score on 56 carries this week. Four UA quarterbacks combined to go 11-of-45 for 125 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

“There were a lot of mistakes,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “The defense set the tone from the first snap. They did a good job.”

The defense recorded five sacks and 17 tackles for loss with nine passes broken up.

The defense was also going against an offense playing without tailback Darren McFadden, and with Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis combining for just seven carries.

“Darren has a little swelling of the knee,” Nutt said. “He wanted to go. That was our call. We also limited Peyton and Felix. We want to keep them healthy.”

McFadden was on the field for a few snaps, but never touched the ball. With McFadden, Hillis and Jones not featured in the offense, redshirt freshman Hezekiah Smith produced 66 yards and a 15-yard touchdown on 14 carries. Jones had 58 yards, including a 35-yarder, on his four carries.

Robert Johnson put up the best quarterback numbers for the second straight week. He was four-of-seven for 47 yards after completing seven-of-10 for 103 yards and two touchdowns last week. He also had three carries for 17 yards.

Casey Dick was two-of-nine for 36 yards with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Hillis. Hillis finished with 45 yards on two receptions and seven yards on three carries.

Alex Mortensen was three-of-16 for 21 yards with two interceptions, and sophomore Nathan Emert was two-of-13 for 21 yards.

Ricky Don Simpson added 17 yards on 13 carries and Michael Smith 13 yards on eight rushes.

“There were some holes in there,” Nutt said. “We have to get better with our protection. It wasn’t a good scrimmage for the offense.”

Hillis was the top receiver with Marcus Monk adding two receptions for 24 yards and John Aaron Rees two for 21. Cedric Logan, Lucas Miller, Justin Snelson, Sean Penix and Mason Templeton added one catch each.

Defensively, Marcus Harrison, Sam Olajubutu and Fred Bledsoe had six tackles each, and Chris Houston, Ernest Mitchell, Brandon Sturdivant, Weston Dacus and Freddie Fairchild five each.

Olajubutu, De’Andre Bryant and Jamaal Anderson had solo sacks with Harrison, Mitchell, Desmond Sims and Michael Hall combining for two others. Harrison, Olajubutu, Sims and Bryant all had two tackles for loss. Kevin Woods and Jamar Love had the interceptions and Anthony Brown had two passes broken up.

“They held out No. 5 (McFadden) and Felix didn’t run much,” defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said. “That should be noted. The effort was good, but they held out their big guns, so I’m not going to get too excited.”

Four different kickers recorded field goal attempts with sophomore Stephen Arnold going three-for-three from 46 yards and redshirt freshman Joel Hall three-for-three from 40 yards. Sophomore Jeremy Davis was three-of-four from 40 yards and redshirt freshman Will Moore two-of-three from 40.

“We’re getting better,” Nutt said. “When we get across the 30-yard line, we need to get some points.”

The Razorbacks wrap up spring drills next week and finish with another scrimmage on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“We had a good week,” Nutt said. “The effort and attitude are good. We want to keep improving and getting better every time we step on the field. The only way to do that is when the offense, defense and special teams all come to play.”

Download: 4-8-06 fb scrimmage.pdf