Arkansas Razorback Football

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ 10:30 a.m. Saturday scrimmage at Reynolds Razorback Stadium again will be open to the public and for two reasons.

Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman explained the two reasons on Wednesday’s Paul Finebaum Show leading into the Razorbacks’ first practice Thursday since the March 23 practice preceding spring break.

“Part of the reason that we opened our scrimmages up is I want our quarterbacks to feel a little bit more pressure,” Pittman said. “They’ll feel that a little bit more with fans in the stands. Some guys play better with people in the stands and some guys play worse. We have to find that out this spring

And that’s a big part of why we’re doing it. The other reason is we want the folks in our state to be able to see us play.”

Both reasons sound good to Warren’s Treylon Burks, Arkansas’ premier receiver last season logging 49 receptions for 804 yards and seven touchdowns.

“Honestly I feel like to us having the fans there makes it, puts a little more on edge to go do what we’re coached to do,” Burks, a junior 2-year letterman, said after Thursday’s practice. “I feel like it’s good for us knowing we’ve got fans that come out and support us while we’re just practicing. So you know it’s always good to have those.”

Burks was asked if the Hogs had to knock some rust off Thursday given their spring break layoff.

“Honestly I felt like this was one of the best practices we’ve had since spring ball started,” Burks said. “So I feel like it was a good practice for all of us.”

Please explain.

“We came out and executed,” Burks said. “The defense pushed us. The offense pushed the defense. We went out and competed with each other and got each other better.”

Though he always appeared to carry weight well on his 6-3 frame, these are literally the lightest practices for Burks.

That pleases a new sheriff in town with receivers coach Kenny Guiton hired upon 3-year Razorbacks receivers coach Justin Stepp returning to his native South Carolina coaching the Gamecocks receivers.

“When Coach Guiton got here we had talked about my weight,” Burks said. “He said he wanted me at least down to like 225. I weighed in the other day and I was at 223. So I’m getting back down there. I feel like my body had changed tremendously and I thank my teammates for pushing me every day to get to where I am right now.”

Gaining weight is the objective for fourth-year junior defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols of Springdale, listed, 6-3, 281 but determined eventually to push 300.

“When you get to the NFL, everybody is 300 unless you’re an edge rusher,” Nichols said. “So I think definitely putting some weight on and getting stronger in the weight room and just building solid muscle. I’ve talked to Coach (Jamil) Walker (the strength coach) and he’s like, ‘You can gain weight and be solid.’ Especially with the weights they have us doing in the strength and conditioning, the nutrition staff, the nutrition plans they draw up. That’s definitely something I’ve been emphasizing this offseason and am still working at in the future. Right now, I’m on track. I’m getting to a good weight.”

Sophomore defensive Jashaud Stewart of Jonesboro ran some first-team defensive end Thursday.

“He looks good,” Nichols said. “He’s young though. There’s a lot of developing, especially at the defensive end and D-line position period. But I think his work ethic. If you look at him on the field, you notice him on the field. You see how fast he plays and how explosive he is off the ball.”

The Razorbacks are off today. They conclude their 15 practices with the April 17 Red-White spring game.

Photos courtesy of Craven Whitlow CW3, Sports Action

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