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After six workouts, the Arkansas Razorback football team takes a break from the practice field today to gear up for three of the most important practices of preseason camp.
Thursday and Friday’s workouts will lead into Saturday’s scrimmage, which is closed to the media and the public. Some ex-players, high-pocketed boosters, and friends of the coaching staff might or might not be able to attend the workout, but like the old Charlie Rich song goes, “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.”
Obviously, some info may leak out, or it may not. It just depends on how many and which friends of the program are allowed in. Some talk; others don’t. But none of it will be filmed or photographed to give anything away to opponents.
With most programs in the SEC operating in a similar manner, it behooves Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman to keep his squad under wraps as well. Coaches can glean things from footage that folks like us may miss. I certainly wish the scrimmages were open like in the past, but access has been limited to the media and fans dating back to the final season of Houston Nutt’s tenure as coach in 2007.
But you don’t have to see a scrimmage to know that Saturday’s workout will play a key role in the development of this team. Certainly, Arkansas’ assistant coaches will grade and assess the players at their positions throughout the year, but that first scrimmage is often where a tone is set for the season.
Being mostly live — quarterbacks will be off limits — it will give players who have flashed early in camp the opportunity to further solidify the team’s pecking order position by position.
Monday’s practice will be key. What is the pecking order at positions? Has it changed since Friday? Are there any discernible movements along the offensive line or in the secondary? What’s the depth chart on the defensive line? Are the Hogs truly two or three deep there?
With Pittman two-spotting — working the first and third teams simultaneously as well as the second and fourth teams together on the Hogs’ two practice fields — it might be difficult to completely document the ups and downs this early in camp. And until scout teams are formulated in late August, it will be hard to nail down a depth chart, and one likely won’t be provided by the UA until the week of the first game. How accurate or deceptive it will be is always a question.
What seems to be a building storyline is that this Razorback team has depth. Maybe not at every position, but when a second-teamer is listed on a depth chart, it’s less likely to be a spot filler and actually a player who could give a starter a break without leaving the Hogs playing left-handed.
So far, all has been mostly quiet on the injury front this season, which is a relief after the struggles the Razorbacks had last season that led to them having the most porous pass defense in the nation.
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