Arkansas freshman Damon Mitchell, who is No. 4 on the quarterback depth chart, probably won’t play against Louisiana-Lafayette on Aug. 31.
But Mitchell still has an important job leading up to the season opener.
Arkansas tabbed Mitchell as its scout-team quarterback this week, asking the newcomer to simulate ULL starter Terrance Broadway. The Razorbacks are trying to prepare for Broadway, who is entering his second season as a starter.
Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said Mitchell was an easy choice.
“He’s got a lot of experience making those same reads with the zone-read scheme and all those kind of things,” Partridge said. “So he’s given us a good look the first couple days. … He’s doing a nice job simulating that offense.”
Broadway threw for 2,842 yards, rushed for 769 more and accounted for 26 touchdowns (17 passing, 9 rushing). He was a big reason ULL went 9-4 in 2012.
Arkansas’ ability to slow Broadway also will be key to its success. The Razorbacks struggled with dual-threat quarterbacks last season, allowing opponents like Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Louisiana-Monroe’s Kolton Browning to enjoy big days.
“He brings a real big challenge,” Arkansas linebacker Jarrett Lake said of Broadway. “But I feel like our scout-team player, Duwop, he gives us a really great look. And that’s going to help us prepare for Lafayette’s quarterback.”
The Razorbacks have elected four team captains for the 2013 season, according to coach Bret Bielema. Center Travis Swanson, fullback Kiero Small, defensive end Chris Smith and defensive tackle Robert Thomas were selected by teammates.
“There’s no doubt who the captains were and who these guys see as their leaders,” Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said after Thursday’s practice
Swanson, Small and Smith have been highlighted by the program since the summer with each being placed on the cover of the media guide and representing Arkansas at SEC Media Days. Thomas joins the trio as a captain in his final year with the Hogs.
“When I got here he was so hungry to be coached,” Partridge said about Thomas. “He put himself in position to learn fundamentals and understand the game more. As he’s grown in that respect as a football player, he has grown as a person.
“I am really proud of his overall growth.”
Arkansas players may have enjoyed a night at the movies on Tuesday, but Partridge said the assistants were left behind so they could tend to other matters.
They were game-planning for Louisiana-Lafayette.
The assistants will be left behind once again today, when Bielema and players attend the football kickoff luncheon in Springdale. Assistants from previous staffs have attended the luncheon, but Partridge said that is changing today.
“We’re going to game plan, which is the right thing to do,” Partridge said.
Former Arkansas coach and athletic director Frank Broyles will be inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame on Oct. 28. Broyles will be part of the first class of SWC inductees since 1995. The 2013 class will include an inductee from each of the nine schools that made up the SWC. The induction ceremony will take place in Dallas and the SWC Hall of Fame is located at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco.
… The Southeastern Conference announced its preseason coaches team Thursday. Defensive end Chris Smith and center Travis Swanson were named first-team selections, while place kicker Zach Hocker and tackle David Hurd were third-team picks. … Bielema said earlier this week Arkansas will hold a mock game today.