Arkansas Razorbacks 2020 Fall Camp Notebook: 1st day of full pads, QB1 Feleipe Franks, standouts, more
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HawgBeat Camp Notebook: 1st day of full pads, QB1, standouts, more

Brady Latham and Taurean Carter square off on the first day of full pads in fall camp.
Brady Latham and Taurean Carter square off on the first day of full pads in fall camp. (Arkansas Athletics)

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FAYETTEVILLE — About a month before the first game of the Sam Pittman era, Arkansas finally took the practice fields in full pads Tuesday afternoon.

In a normal year, the first-year head coach would have gotten the first look at his team in full pads during spring ball, but the coronavirus pandemic completely altered the Razorbacks’ offseason.

Arkansas’ first major scrimmage is set for Friday. On Tuesday - the fifth practice of preseason camp and first time they were allowed in full pads - the Razorbacks did some live work in drills and had 18 plays of live tackling in team sessions. The rest of the team periods were “thud.”

“I think this was our best practice as a football team that we’ve had,” Pittman said. “I liked the physicality of the practice, because that’s what we’re preaching - about toughness, about strength, about mental toughness. I thought guys tried to fight through practice a little bit more than what they had in the past.”

The offense set the tone early, according to offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg, who told reporters on a Zoom videoconference afterward that Rakeem Boyd scored on a 50-yard run on the very first play.

“We were super excited from there on,” Stromberg said. “It kind of carried over to the rest of the team periods. Overall, today we executed really well and I thought the whole offensive line strained our butts off today.”

Although the reviews of Arkansas’ first day in full pads was mostly positive, Pittman said he would have liked to see his players get more conditioning in over the course of the practice.

“I didn’t like our transition on and off the field today, to be honest with you,” Pittman said. “We talked about it after practice. During the plays, I thought we were going extremely hard. I enjoyed watching them practice. But the transition on and off the field was slow.”

QB1 for 2020?

Pittman and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles have been careful to not name Feleipe Franks the starting quarterback throughout the offseason and at the start of camp.

However, Briles said it was his job to lose and the graduate transfer from Florida has been taking the first-team reps in drills seen by media so far, with redshirt freshman KJ Jefferson working with the second unit.

It remains to be seen if Arkansas will actually name a starter before the Sept. 26 opener against Georgia, but it still seems as though Franks is QB1.

“We’ve got certain people playing with the 1s and certain people playing with the 2s,” Pittman said. “To be honest with you, we haven’t switched that… I don’t know if I’m going to make a public announcement of who’s going to be our quarterback - I might - but our team knows.”

Standouts Through Practice No. 5

When asked about specific players who have consistently made plays in camp, Pittman mentioned wide receiver Treylon Burks and left tackle Myron Cunningham on offense.

He also said Jerry Jacobs and Montaric Brown have been impressive in the secondary, but he spent the most time heaping praise on his first-team defensive line that features Julius Coates and Dorian Gerald at defensive end and Jonathan Marshall and Xavier Kelly at defensive tackle.


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