Razorbacks spring football report

Big men delight Bielema

Arkansas defensive lineman McTelvin Agim during practice Saturday, April 8, 2017,

FAYETTEVILLE -- Nose guards Bijhon Jackson and Austin Capps had a good first scrimmage in the Arkansas Razorbacks' new 3-4 defense.


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Capps had a key 3-yard tackle for a loss to stop a third-down play, and Jackson wrapped up the 135-play workout with an interception return that was headed for a 37-yard touchdown when it was blown dead.

Jackson, who picked off a Cole Kelley pass that was batted on the interior of the line, was being chased by center Dylan Hays as he high-stepped toward the north end zone, which trails off into a work zone where the Broyles Athletic Center once stood.

"Nice play by Bijhon, light feet, grabbed it," University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Coach Bret Bielema said.

Jackson was headed for a touchdown when whistles ended the play and the scrimmage.

"We've got a secure drop-off at the back of the end zone," Bielema said. "I'd hate to see Bijhon falling 20 feet into the pit over there."

Bielema said Jackson and Capps are both taking snaps at defensive end as well as nose guard in the new alignment.

"Capps goes back to his Star City days of being a great baseball player," Bielema said. "He's really quick with his hands, sudden, and that's helped him at that position."

Up for grabs

Bret Bielema said neither Ty Storey nor Cole Kelley has made a move to take over as the second-team quarterback behind Austin Allen.

"They both do some good things and do some things that aren't so good," Bielema said. "I do think Ty is playing as well as he's played since he's been here today. It wasn't his best day, but he was still pretty good in some things. His command and presence and composure are always really good.

"Cole tries to do a lot of things. They are kind of two different personalities. Cole thinks he's Favre, Aikman and who else? And Ty is just trying to be Ty Storey."

Injury report

Linebacker Dre Greenlaw (foot), tight end Grayson Gunter (shoulder), and cornerbacks Britto Tutt (knee) and Korey Hernandez (hamstring) were held out of the scrimmage.

Tutt missed last season after undergoing knee surgery and is getting close to full participation, Coach Bret Bielema said.

Hernandez suffered a hamstring injury April 1, and Bielema is hopeful he'll be ready to practice next week.

Linebackers Alexy Jean-Baptiste (foot) and Giovanni LaFrance (ankle) suffered injuries during the scrimmage. Bielema said he didn't think the injuries were significant.

Ragnow watches

Senior center Frank Ragnow, going into his third season as a starter, isn't likely to play much of a role in scrimmages this spring as a precaution.

It's a move Bret Bielema announced before practice started.

Ragnow, a potential high NFL Draft choice in 2018, watched Saturday with two former offensive linemen now in the NFL, Travis Swanson (Detroit Lions) and Sebastian Tretola (Tennessee Titans).

Bielema said he struggled with the decision to hold Ragnow out.

"I mean, he could have played every rep today and gotten a little bit better," Bielema said. "But the risk of what could be the byproduct of something negative to me isn't worth it."

Bielema said he might consider holding senior receiver Jared Cornelius out of scrimmage work the rest of spring.

Gator glory

The TV screens at the Fred Smith Center were airing a replay of Arkansas' 31-10 victory over Florida from last season after the team's scrimmage Saturday. The recruiting prospects and their families who attended the scrimmage filed into the Smith Center after the workout and could watch the game.

8 for 8

Kickers Cole Hedlund, Connor Limpert and Jon Fagg combined to go 8 for 8 on field goals prior to the scrimmage.

Hedlund made all four of his kicks, while Limpert and Fagg were each 2 for 2.

"Cole Hedlund was perfect on field goals, so making some good strides there," Bret Bielema said. "We'll work on some kickoff coverage and kickoff return in the coming weeks."

Hanging out

Former Razorback players and coaches in attendance at Saturday's scrimmage included longtime assistant coach Larry Beightol; former quarterback Quinn Grovey and the man he'll replace as a color analyst on the Razorback Radio Network, Keith Jackson; offensive linemen Travis Swanson and Sebastian Tretola; and tight end Chris Gragg.

OL observations

Junior Zach Rogers worked at first-team center with returning starter Frank Ragnow being held out.

"Zach's continued to impress me," Bret Bielema said. "He's a smart player."

Bielema said Rogers has looked good at center and guard.

"I think that you would feel good about what Zach could bring us," Bielema said. "He's a real vocal kid. Frank's obviously the leader of that group, but I think Zach does a lot of good things with those younger players especially."

Paul Ramirez worked at second-team left tackle behind sophomore Colton Jackson. True freshman Shane Clenin, an early enrollee, worked with the third-team line.

"Paul has been having a nice spring," Bielema said. "He's competing. He has a little bit better understanding of what we're asking him to do, and Shane is a true freshman."

Bielema said he "couldn't be more happy" with how Clenin and two other true freshman linemen, Kirby Adcock and Dalton Wagner, are progressing.

Dylan Hays worked at second-team center Saturday.

Moving on

Coach Bret Bielema said walk-on junior receivers Luke Rossi and Cameron Colbert are no longer on the roster.

Colbert, a Pulaski Academy graduate, plans to transfer to an FCS or Division II school where he will have immediate eligibility next season, Bielema said.

"Great kid, phenomenal," Bielema said. "But obviously everybody can't play here."

Rossi, from Edmond, Okla., aggravated a nagging hamstring injury and has decided to give up football.

Extra points

• Inside linebackers coach Vernon Hargreaves missed Saturday's scrimmage to attend the funeral of his brother, Bret Bielema said.

• Sophomore Nate Dalton, now playing cornerback, had a pass breakup in the end zone on a Ty Storey pass that was momentarily in the hands of Brandon Martin.

• The first-team offense did not suffer a pre-snap penalty or a muffed center-quarterback exchange. The backup units had three false start flags and one muffed exchange.

• Former Razorbacks offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson, who played for the Hogs in 2014, signed with the Buffalo Bills earlier this week.

Sports on 04/09/2017