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As the Hogs begin spring football, quarterback Taylen Green of Arkansas football gets first-ream reps.

Thursday morning marked the start of Arkansas football’s spring practice schedule inside the Fred W. Smith Football Center, where a number of new players took center stage.

Mountain West: Boise State quarterback Taylen Green (10) dives over UNLV defensive back Quentin Moten (23) for a touchdown during the first half.

The star of the morning’s exercises was offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino, who made his comeback to the Razorbacks. In a composed manner, the previous head coach worked with the quarterbacks and coordinated with Ronnie Fouch, the new wide receivers coach, to communicate with the entire offense.

These are four additional notes from the spring practice.

Taylen Green of Arkansas football takes the opening snaps at center.

The entirety of the first session, which included the Razorbacks’ “fastball” start and other 11-on-11 drills, was spent by the Boise State transfer working with the starting offense.

Green got off to a rough start, but as the morning went on, he became better. His first highlight play came as he rolled to his left and threw across his body to find Andrew Armstrong. Later on, he completed deep passes to Tyrone Broden, Green’s favorite target all morning, and Armstrong.

Jacolby Criswell, a redshirt senior, was unexpectedly on the third team during “fastball.” During team drills, true freshman KJ Jackson mixed in with the twos and threes with redshirt freshman Malachi Singleton, who worked with the second unit. Early in the morning, Singleton had a beautiful throw down the seam to Var’keyes Gumms.

Although Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman stated before spring football that any of the five quarterbacks might start, it seemed like Green was the clear choice from the outset.
Offensive line transfers make the first team.

The three new portals along the offensive line were implemented without any gradual rollout. Keyshawn Blackstock (Michigan State), Addison Nichols (Tennessee), and Fernando Carmona (San Jose State) collaborated with the more starting attacking players.

Carmona was the left tackle, with Nichols at center and Blackstock playing right tackle. Returnees Josh Braun the Patrick Kutas were the respective guards, with Braun playing on the right side of the line. Kutas was at left guard after spending most of last season at right tackle.

Just like at quarterback, the first felt like an opening statement of who has the inside track to start up front against Arkansas Pine Bluff in September.

The unit must be much improved in 2024, and it’s clearly a big focus for Pittman. The Arkansas head coach promised he would be more hands-on with the offensive line this season and he almost exclusively worked with the group Thursday.

A pair of rookies flash

Both running back Braylen Russell and wide receiver CJ Brown had their moments during their first practice as college students. Brown had superb balance when making a sideline grab and made a few receptions over the center.

“CJ is an excellent receiver first and foremost. He’s insane, a freshman arriving early. Andrew Armstrong, a senior wide receiver, remarked, “Like his releases, all those things.”

Though it’s hard to evaluate the running backs without any tackles to the ground, Russell doesn’t appear to be a freshman. With tree trunk legs, the 6-foot-1, 252-pound native of Benton had strong speed in the open on Thursday.

Sep 17, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Missouri State Bears head coach Bobby Petrino talks to Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Sam Pittman prior to the game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Rashod Dubinion, transfer from Utah The top three running backs were Isaiah Augustave, Ja’Quinden Jackson, and Russell may have an instant impact on the competition.
Defense concludes with a flourish

At the conclusion of practice, there was a two-minute drill in which the offense was only able to score on one of three possessions.

With the help of a defensive penalty, Singleton guided the second team into the end zone while the first and third teams’ attacks were unable to reach there. Kavion Henderson, a rookie defensive end, had one sack but has the potential for more in a real game.

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