FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas closer Colby Suggs takes pride in toughness.
He was a high school center, playing in the trenches at Sulpher Springs High despite being just 6-foot. His teammates often describe him as a bulldog because of his toughness on the mound. Suggs even has the word “tough” written under his cap.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas guard Mitch Smothers said the message has been loud and clear to offensive linemen since spring practice began last month.
Don’t cost the Razorbacks five yards because of pre-snap penalties.
FAYETTEVILLE — Myke Tavarres couldn’t temper his feelings when he found out who was going to be Arkansas’ linebackers coach.
The junior college prospect had just signed with the Razorbacks, becoming part of Bret Bielema’s first class. So he already was eager to enroll in classes, get on campus and start working out with his new team. The desire only intensified when the Razorbacks announced former Miami coach Randy Shannon had been hired.
1. Inconsistent at QB
Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said quarterbacks Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell were “inconsistent” during last Saturday’s scrimmage. But it wasn’t a big surprise as Arkansas introduces a new offensive philosophy this spring.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has gotten off to a solid start in Southeastern Conference play. But as Arkansas (21-8, 6-3 in Southeastern Conference) prepares for its next test at Alabama (18-11, 7-2) beginning Thursday night, coach Dave Van Horn said the Razorbacks have plenty of room for improvement in a variety of areas.
Van Horn, speaking after the monthly Swatter’s Club meeting, pointed particularly to the bottom half of his lineup. The group — which has typically included second baseman Dominic Ficociello, catcher Jake Wise, center fielder Jacob Morris, first basemen Willie Schwanke and Eric Fisher — have struggled to produce.
FAYETTEVILLE — Bret Bielema had a message Monday for anyone up in arms about comments he made during a recent Razorback Club event.
Bielema, using his Twitter feed, responded to the growing buzz regarding his comments about Alabama and coach Nick Saban’s record at Michigan State during the Saline County Razorback Club fish fry last Wednesday. Bielema, according to Hootens.com, said Saban’s record in the Big Ten was “no comparison” to his own.
FAYETTEVILLE - For the second straight game the Arkansas bats went quiet after the first inning. Unlike Saturday, though, the Razorbacks had enough pitching to quell Mississippi State’s chances in taking the series.
Arkansas scored three runs in the first inning and had an impresive staff pitching performance to take two of three from the Bulldogs with a 3-1 win in Easter Sunday’s matinee.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema met with the Razorbacks early Saturday morning to run through his expectations for their sixth spring practice.
They had worked their way through the first week, which allowed coaches and players to get a feel for one another. They took their time installing packages on both sides of the ball and dabbled with some contact work earlier this week.
1. Allen Gains Early Edge
FAYETTEVILLE — The battle for the Arkansas starting quarterback job is expected to continue throughout the spring. But the Razorbacks’ first scrimmage showed sophomore Brandon Allen has an early lead on senior Brandon Mitchell.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas felt good about its chances of winning another Southeastern Conference series with junior Ryne Stanek starting Saturday.
But the SEC’s reigning Pitcher of the Week wasn’t the most dominant person on the mound in Baum Stadium. That title went to Mississippi State’s Kendall Graveman.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas won’t play its first Southeastern Conference game until Sept. 28, when Texas A&M travels to Razorback Stadium.
But don’t tell cornerback Carroll Washington. The junior college transfer, who is participating in his first spring practice after enrolling at Arkansas this winter, said he is treating today’s scrimmage like it’s a conference battle.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas reliever Colby Suggs said he pressed too much to return from an oblique injury last month.
The junior was elected a team captain and named a preseason All-American. He was the team’s closer. So Suggs admitted he felt obligated to be on the field even though he wasn’t quite right and the early results were disappointing.
FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas student section held up a banner during the final home game in Bud Walton Arena last month, urging leading scorers BJ Young and Marshawn Powell to return to the Razorbacks for the 2013-14 season.
This week has shown the group of students they won’t get their wish.
FOUR DOWNS – ARKANSAS SPRING PRACTICE NOTES
1. Steady Progress
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas entered the 2013 season with lofty goals because of a veteran pitching staff regarded as one of the nation’s best.
So when Arkansas second baseman Dominic Ficociello heard the Razorbacks led the nation in team earned run average on Thursday, the junior shrugged. It was really no surprise to hear they’ve lived up to the billing so far this season.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas fullback Kiero Small tried to keep his emotions in check as the Razorbacks prepared for their first full pads practice earlier this month.
The senior – who was known for bending facemasks with his hard-nosed blocking in 2011 – hadn’t taken part in contact work since early September. He had done all of the offseason conditioning with teammates and participated in non-contact drills, but couldn’t wait for the final step in his return from last year’s broken foot.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — On a crisp spring night, there were some familiar things about what has become the Arkansas Razorbacks’ annual visit to Dickey-Stephens Park.
The game drew another big crowd, 9285, and the Razorbacks recorded another close victory.
FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas recorded its fifth shutout of the season in a 6-0 win against Mississippi Valley State at Baum Stadium on Tuesday.
The win improves the Razorbacks to 18-7, while the Delta Devils drop to 3-22.
FAYETTEVILLE — Forward Marshawn Powell has decided that four years in an Arkansas uniform is long enough.
The redshirt junior revealed his plans to enter the 2013 NBA Draft from his Twitter account on Tuesday, adding “thank God for even being in this position.”
FAYETTEVILLE — Quarterback Brandon Mitchell said this was his plan all along.
He volunteered to move to wide receiver in 2012 to get on the field with Tyler Wilson entrenched as Arkansas’ starting quarterback. He wanted to play somewhere after watching from the sideline for most of his first three seasons with the program. So Mitchell understood the consequences of stepping away from the position — outside of a few practice reps and the Alabama game — and what it meant for 2013.