What we learned during Arkansas’ spring practice

NCAA Football: Arkansas at UL Monroe

SDS will be taking a tour around the conference and looking at each team’s progress – or lack thereof – made during spring camp. Next up, Arkansas.

Here’s what we learned during Arkansas’ spring practice:

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QB concerns remain: Brandon Allen was all set to leave no doubt that he was the quarterback in Arkansas’ spring game, but that didn’t exactly happen. While he played much better in the second half, the Hogs’ margin of error is so slim this season, and simply giving the football away isn’t on the agenda. Allen finished the spring game 12-of-21 for 108 yards, one touchdown and two INTs, including a pick on his first pass attempt. Still, the spring game was just one day, and Allen had a nice spring up to that point. Austin Allen didn’t steal the job from his brother, but it gives the Hogs another option if they decide to go that way.

Running back ‘trio’: We know now why Bret Bielema wanted Korliss Marshall to stay on offense rather than move to safety: he’s explosive. Marshall showed that some last year, but he validated the coaches’ reasoning during the spring game, as he rushed for 99 yards and two touchdowns. So, with Marshall making impact plays, he’ll gel nicely with the already-established Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams. Off tackle left and off tackle right will play a major role in the offense, and any semblance of a passing game will help the running game become more dominant.

Newcomers will help O-line: Bret Bielema recently confirmed that freshmen should help with offensive line depth and should play this season. Bielema feels good about left tackle Dan Skipper, right tackle Brey Cook and right guard Denver Kirkland, but center and left guard remain open. Mitch Smothers worked some at center, and Luke Charpentier played left guard, but Bielema and his staff are still looking for the right five combination. That plan could include newcomers to help provide immediate depth.

Strong defensive line again: 2013’s strength should be the Hogs’ defensive strength again: the front four. End Trey Flowers is one of the best the SEC has to offer, and Deatrich Wise is making moves opposite Flowers. The 6-6, 270-pound end gives the Hogs another effective pass rusher. Darius Philon and Demarcus Hodge both looked sharp in the spring game, and Philon should be one of the SEC’s best tackles. Ke’Tyrus Marks and Taiwan Johnson will help provide depth to the unit’s strongest position.

Let’s break down the biggest takeaways of every spring practice:

Photo Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports



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