FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (Univ. of Ark.) – The University of Arkansas football team opened its 2014 fall camp on Monday afternoon, as the Razorbacks hit the field for the first of 24 preseason practices in preparation for the season-opener at SEC foe, Auburn.
The day opened with individual drills and moved quickly to seven-on-seven before returning to positional drills. The first day of camp concluded with 11-on-11 that saw both regular starters and newcomers take reps.
First down was a key focus in the team's first practice, as during both the seven-on-seven drills and 11-on-11 the marker was set on first down alone. Head coach Brett Bielema threw his newcomers into reps quickly, as several freshman turned in reps during the 11-on-11 session to end the day.
Venue: Outdoor Practice Fields
Format: Helmets (no pads)
Highlights: During the seven-on-seven drills, junior wide receiver Keon Hatcher was able to slip behind the defense and made a wide-open grab around 25-yards from the line of scrimmage … Brandon Allen opened camp behind center and took snaps with the first-team offense. His velocity on throws were a noticeable increase from last season and had a strong showing on the day to begin his second season in Bielema's offense … The SEC Network was around the field filming the first half of practice for an all-access segment to air later this year on the network.
Quote of the Day: "It gives me a little bit more confidence knowing the coaches believe in me and believe in me to be the starter. The competition, along with the confidence, drives me to be better. I enjoy competition, I enjoy proving myself but the confidence they have in me is definitely a good thing for me." – Brandon Allen (@BrandonAllen_10) on knowing he's the No. 1 quarterback coming into camp.
Bret Bielema (@BretBielema) on starting fall camp: "I couldn't be happier to start today with 105 guys who have dedicated themselves very much to what this day means. I think our returning players have done an outstanding job of getting themselves ready to be in this position both in the classroom and off the field and obviously on the field and in the weight room."
Bielema on the transfers: "There are a couple transfer guys that have come in in an unusual way - Josh Williams and Cameron Jefferson. Those guys are two players that I think can step in and help us in a big way early on."
Bielema on the newcomers: "Today we had a 26 period practice and the last three periods were all freshmen. We kind of let the upper classmen sit back those last couple periods and coach those young guys and teach them expectations."
Bielema on the backup quarterback situation: "I think Austin has really taken a step this summer. I think he has a better understanding of what's expected of him. Rafe was by no means a disappointment. He's so wired to not make a mistake. He's got a light arm, he's extremely talented and very smart. I think he could have a really big month for us."
Bielema on the offense as a whole: "I tell ya, it's just fun to look at them. When they come out, they're beginning to look like an offensive line. There's confidence within that group. And I give a lot of credit to Sam Pittman."
Bielema on Brey Cook (@breycook74): "If there is a young man that since we have been here has embodied everything we have asked them to do, especially at that O-line position, it's Brey Cook. His body composition, what he's done physically, what he does every day on the football field, leadership wise, he's literally played himself into a position to play beyond the University of Arkansas. He has really impressed me on a daily basis."
Brandon Allen on first day of camp: "It was definitely a good day for me. I saw a lot of good things out there for a first day, saw a lot of people flying around. It was good to be back. After a long summer with Coach Herb in the weight room and us having our player practices, it was good to be back with the coaches and I thought it went well."
Jonathan Williams (@Jwillpart2): On his comfort level being in the offense for a second year: "I'm definitely a lot more comfortable. You can see that with Brandon Allen, the receivers and just in the running back room. We don't have to know as much as BA (Brandon Allen) and things like that, but it just feels comfortable because you go out there and you can look at different things. Last year we were kind of trying to focus on what we were supposed to do but now we can look at defenses and see the safeties rolling down and things like that. We can focus on more details."
News and Notes:
· The Arkansas Football Fan Day presented by Pepsi will be held Sunday, Aug. 17 from 2-4 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena. All fans in attendance will receive the official 2014 Razorback football team poster and pocked schedule card.
· Season tickets for the 2014 football season are now on sale starting at $300. Tickets for both Fayetteville and Little Rock games may be purchased by clicking here or by contacting the UA Ticket Office at 1-800-982-HOGS (4647).
· The 2014 Football Kickoff Luncheon, presented by URETEK Capital will be held on Aug. 22 at noon at the NWA Convention Center in Springdale, Ark. The doors will open at 11:15 a.m., and general admission tickets are $25 each. A reserved table for eight, with two seats for student-athletes or football personnel, is $300. To purchase tickets, please call 1-800-982-HOGS.
Up Next: The Razorbacks continue their single-day practice schedule tomorrow through Friday, before two-a-days begin Saturday.
Follow Live: For complete coverage of Arkansas football throughout fall camp, follow @RazorbackFB on Twitter.
Kickoff: The Razorbacks open the season with a Southeastern Conference contest at Auburn University on Aug. 30. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium and will be televised on the SEC Network.