College Football: Final Fall Scrimmage Sets Tone for 2012 Season


Fayetteville, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks completed their fall practice sessions on Saturday culminating with a 123-play scrimmage full of wins and big plays on both sides of the ball.

The offense put up big numbers during the team’s final scrimmage but the lesson learned on Saturday was the Razorback defense has the potential to be a top tier SEC defense during the 2012 season.

Starting quarterback Tyler Wilson completed 22 of 37 passes for 252 yards with 3 touchdowns working against the No. 1 Arkansas defense. Respectable passing totals for Wilson playing against a defense that knows the offense very well at this point in fall camp.

The first team defense held their own against the first team offense who is largely considered one of the best offenses in all of college football by forcing six drives to end in a would be punt. The defense also gave up a touchdown pass a play after an interception turned forced fumble was signaled an incomplete pass between Tyler Wilson and defensive end Chris Smith.

The defense was able to disrupt the offense all without starting safety Eric Bennett, starting linebackers Tenarius Wright and Alonzo Highsmith. Each player is expected to be back at practice on Monday.

In the offense’s defense, starting running back Knile Davis was held out of the scrimmage further lengthening the well documented debate centered upon when should Davis be tackled to the ground; during practice or in-live action against an Arkansas opponent?

The offense was also without their No. 2 tailback, Dennis Johnson. Johnson has missed a couple of practices this week due to the passing of his grandmother.

How this balances out in the end is up for interpretation but one fact rings true after the final scrimmage, there is a lot of talent on both sides of the Arkansas football this season.

Senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton would have been “The Player of the Game” for the first team offense after catching 11 passes for 165 yards with two scores.

Hamilton’s highlight reel play included a 65-yard touchdown that saw him break three tackles (Rohan Gaines, Tevin Mitchell, and Ross Rasner) on the way to the end zone.

Freshman player of the game, hands down, goes to running back Jonathan Williams. Williams (Allen, TX) had 18 carries for 115 yards with two touchdowns and caught one pass for a 16-yard score.

Arkansas head coach John L. Smith had glowing reviews for Williams. “He’s going to be a real good back, and he can step in and play. He’s mature enough as a freshman, physically, and really mentally. Picks the offense up pretty darn quick.”

The offense jumped on the defense early but the complexion of the scrimmage changed once defensive coordinator Paul Haynes started calling blitzes and stunts. The change caused confusion for the offensive forcing missed assignments, penalties, and poor execution.

Chris Smith explained the change in the defense’s performance after the scrimmage, “I think around the fourth or fifth series we started opening up and everything. Everything was a little vanilla when we first came out there, a lot of base stuff and everything like that. I think we started opening up around the fourth series.”

After the first-team defense held the offense for four straight series, Wilson executed a 9-play 65-yard drive ending with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Hamilton.

Backup quarterback Brandon Allen looked sharp at times on his way to completing 16 of 23 passes for 262 yards with three touchdowns. He also threw two picks, one gained back on a forced fumble and recovery by Mekale McKay.

Senior running back Ronnie Wingo, Jr. ran hard on Saturday going north and south more than east and west as seen in years past. Wingo showed his best football moves when catching the ball out of the backfield. He finished with four receptions for 33 yards.

Linebackers and safeties better bring their lunch pail and hard hats come Sept. 1. Wilson and Allen had nice rhythms with their tight ends.

Starting tight end Chris Gragg is poised for a great season but the emergence of Austin Tate and Demetrius Dean could allow the Hogs to run two tight end sets on passing downs. The extra weapons will give the offense more options on first and second down putting more pressure on the opposing defenses to stay true in coverage and on running plays.

News and Notes from Scrimmage

First team offensive line on Saturday was David Hurd (OT), Tyler Deacon (OG), Travis Swanson (C), Alvin Bailey (OG), and Brey Cook (OT).

Several Razorback players were held out of the scrimmage including tight end Brett Weir (concussion) and wide receiver Keante Minor (shoulder).

Junior defensive tackle Jeremiah Jackson is now declared a medical hardship. Unfortunately for the Hoover, Alabama prep star this means that his football career with the Razorbacks is finished. He will remain on scholarship but his scholarship will not count against Arkansas’ totals.

True freshman receiver Mekale McKay continues to impress. He had only had two catches but totaled 76 yards with one touchdown.

After being a principal part of the passing offense for over a week Brandon Mitchell only caught one pass for five-yards in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Mitchell did not receive anytime under center on Saturday. Brian Buehner (0 of 1, 1 INT) and Taylor Reed (0 of 4) completed the third and fourth team offenses at QB.

Scrimmage Stats


Tyler Wilson – 22 of 37, 252 yards, 3 TDs

Brandon Allen – 16 of 23, 262 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs


Jonathan Williams – 18 carries, 116 yards, 2 TDs

Ronnie Wingo – 19 carries, 77 yards

Kody Walker – 6 carries, 30 yards

Nate Holmes – 7 carries, 23 yards

Kiero Small – 1 carry, 6 yards, TD

Taylor Reed – 2 carries, 12 yards

Donovan Roberts – 1 carry, 1 yard


Cobi Hamilton – 11 rec., 166 yards, 2 TDs

Mekale McKay – 2 rec., 76 yards, 1 TD

Austin Tate – 4 rec., 65 yards, 1 TD

Chris Gragg – 3 rec., 26 yards, 1 TD

Jonathan Williams – 1 rec., 16 yards, TD

Morgan Linton – 2 rec., 9 yards, TD

Brandon Mitchell – 1 rec., 5 yards

Keon Hatcher – 1 rec., 7 yards

Javontee Herndon – 1 rec., 12 yards

Demetrius Dean – 2 rec., 24 yards

Demetrius Wilson – 4 rec., 56 yards

Ronnie Wingo – 4 rec., 33 yards

Kiero Small – 1 rec., 3 yards

Kody Walker – 1 rec., 11 yards


Dakota Bagget – 1

Jerry Mitchell – 1

Daunte Carr – 1


Trey Flowers – 2

Jared Greene – 1

Chris Smith – 1

Austin Flynn – 1

Horace Arkadie – 1