FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defensive backs coach Clay Jennings isn’t concerned that a week-long layoff will affect the Razorbacks when they resume spring practice.
But if it does, Jennings joked that any sluggishness won’t last long.
“I can tell you this, I’ll make sure whatever they wasted, I promise you I’ll get it back,” Jennings said after Arkansas’ third practice on March 20.
Arkansas will return to the field this afternoon, ending an 11-day break that spanned over the school’s spring break. The Razorbacks have 12 practices remaining on their spring agenda and will stretch the work over four weeks.
It was a little unusual to practice one week, then take a break. But Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen believes spring break came at a perfect time.
“I think it’s good for us, you know, not to have too much time off,” Allen said before spring break began. “So, basically, we’re getting these three practices in, getting our bodies back in practice shape and basically getting a week off to get a rest. Then we’ll come back refreshed for the rest of spring.”
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said stretching out the spring is something he has favored since after his second season at Wisconsin. He said the NCAA has an allotment of time permitted for spring practices and the Razorbacks’ schedule this spring will allow them to meet the criteria with one day to spare.
“What it allows you to do is get more players back that you may lose possibly to injury if you scale it down to a three-week session or a four-week session,” Bielema said. “You might lose a couple of players that you never get back. It allows us to put a teaching day between each practice day, which I think allows the body to get better recovery and allows it to have the ability to perform better.
“I think as far as mental recall it only enhances it. It doesn’t deter it.”
Arkansas will practice Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays over the next four weeks.
Defensive end Trey Flowers referred to it as the “real spring” before Arkansas stepped away for its break. So Jennings, who noted Arkansas went from its eight-week offseason program to a week of spring practice, said it was a valuable break.
He and the rest of the staff expects a rejuvenated bunch when they return to work.
“They’ve been working at this back since the middle of January,” Jennings said before the break. “It’s almost the end of March. The body is a little weary.
“The break will be good for them as far as the pounding and whatnot that they’ve been taking not only in practice, but also in the offseason. They get a chance to refresh and they’ll be ready to come back and work.”