My greatest fear when Bret Bielema announced that it would be "best on best" in the annual Spring game was that the Hog offense, which has so much new (philosophy, QB, running backs, receivers), wouldn't be able to move the ball.
I shouldn't have worried.
The offense was more than OK. The Brandons - Allen and Mitchell - combined made only one big mistake. Interceptions on first down or the red zone are big-time no-no's in Coach B's book and Brandon Mitchell had a bad pick, throwing into coverage near the end zone. They also missed on a couple of deep balls but the positive outweighed the negative in a big way.
Both Allen and Mitchell looked comfortable running the offense. All that boring stuff Coach Chaney talked about, like getting in and out of the huddle and lining up right - it looked pretty smooth. They also made quick decisions and got the ball out in a hurry. Allen was 11-16 -158 TD, Mitchell 12-17-138 TD INT.
The highlight of the day may have been the play of the rock 'em, sock 'em running backs. Bielema backs are fearless and physical. Williams, Walker, Arinze and Small were the hammer on this day. It's obvious that these four have bought into Coach B's "let's get more physical" brand of football. Speedy Nate Holmes also had his moments as the Hogs ground out 185 yards.
Another offensive plus were the yards after the catch by the Hog receivers. They made a habit of coming back to the ball and turning up field for extra yardage. They also did a good job getting by the first would be tackler. Jevontee Herndon, Keon Hatcher and Demetrius Wilson all looked like more SEC ready receivers. It was also good to see three different tight ends catch the ball.
Zach Hocker was the big winner in this new Spring game format. Hocker was one kick away from being perfect, he was short on a 60 yard attempt.
Thanks Coach B for letting us see "best on best" in your first Spring game at Arkansas.