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Andy Hodges

With two weeks of spring left, no answers at quarterback

Inconsistency only common factor at quarterback on a bad offensive scrimmage Saturday that provided no answers at most important position.

The bad news is Arkansas’ offense was ridiculously inconsistent Saturday morning in a scrimmage and the most important position was leading the way.

The good news is there is still two weeks of spring practice left.

After taking eight days away from football, the players returned Thursday and junior wide receiver Treylon Burks said it was one of their best practices in the spring.

That changed when the guys on the other side of the ball put on pads.

“Obviously something is wrong,” Sam Pittman said later, but we wasn’t exactly sure what it was until he looked at the video.

That is not what Razorback fans were particularly needing to hear in this scrimmage, the second of the spring that was free and open to the fans.

At times it looked a lot like what we’ve seen before with quarterbacks hanging onto the ball too long, which is when the odds of something good happening drop dramatically.

“Either we’re not getting open, we’re not reading the first progression and hitting (the receivers) when he’s open,” Pittman said. “Maybe we’re trying to go deep with the ball. I don’t know the answer to that until I watch the tape.

“Obviously our timing is off.”

There were penalties (more on that in a little bit) for linemen being downfield, going a combined 34-for-66, 332 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. That’s an average of 5 yards per attempt … about 3 below what the team did last year in SEC games.

In case you’re wondering, that’s not good.

KJ Jefferson was 13-of-22 passing for 80 yards and a touchdown. That’s disturbing, primarily because of the inconsistency.

Backup Malik Hornsby was 9-of-24 for 114 yards with an interception that Simeon Blair scooped up just before it hit the turf. He also barely missed connecting with a punter, who was about 10 yards out of bounds kicking into the net.

At times it was that bad. The only conclusion to draw is Jefferson’s the leader at quarterback more by lack of another contender.

The only thing on display from the quarterbacks was a lack of consistency.

There were some big plays. TJ Hammonds broke loose on the first series for a 75-yard score. Hornsby found Burks in the end zone, who made a leaping catch.

“I wish we’d be more physical,” Pittman said about the running backs. “More consistent, downhill physical. We’re not consistent.”

And they are struggling with the simple mesh handoff, which is when the quarterback takes the snap, then either hands it to the running back standing beside him or looks for a receiver.

“We put two, maybe three balls on the ground just in a mesh,” Pittman said. “Nobody hit anybody. We beat ourselves. If we’re going to lose somebody better beat us. I just wish we were consistently physical at the running back position.”

While Pittman wasn’t exactly surprised at the lack of execution on offense, it wasn’t planned.

“What happened today was certainly what I was hoping would not happen with a little bit of sluggish play,” he said in true Pittspeak.

The translation on that is he was probably not surprised but was hopeful it wouldn’t happen.

“I’m glad we got it in,” he said. “We were pretty injury free and we have six more opportunities this spring.”

Fans were hoping to walk out of Razorback Stadium feeling good about the offense. Stepping back and looking at the scrimmage in total it may have been a really good day for the defense, but the offense at times resembled a Chad Morris nightmare.

But as Pittman said, there are six more practices. He also got some teaching tape.

And we’ll all get to see if anything gets fixed in a couple of weeks at the Red-White Game.

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