ARKANSAS Team Report


Toughness and depth were the goals of coach Bobby Petrino going into spring ball.

Petrino believes both of those were accomplished following the April 24 spring game that saw White beat the Red, 31-21.

"This game really helped our week of practice," Petrino said. "It causes you to be competitive. Anytime you have depth like we have, the guys are working each day to move up on the depth chart."

Petrino is stressing a more aggressive style, especially on defense, which was the Razorbacks' biggest weakness last season.

"I thought the players were flying around and competing," Petrino said. "We were sloppy at certain things particularly putting the ball on the ground. That's something we don't do a lot of. Maybe it's because we were hitting hard and flying to the ball."

The biggest news of spring camp was who didn't play.

Quarterback Ryan Mallett missed all of camp after having surgery for a foot injury suffered during offseason conditioning drills. Mallett's numbers last season were astounding. He threw for 3,627 yards and 30 touchdowns while throwing only seven interceptions. Mallett also completed 55 percent of his passes.

The question now is, can Mallett lead Arkansas to the top of what is arguably the best conference in the country.

Mallett says he will be ready for all the practices in the summer.


--The coaching staff has made several position changes on defense. Senior Rudell Crim has been switched from cornerback to strong safety, meaning sophomore Darius Winston is now a first-team cornerback.

--Tramain Thomas will team with Crim at safety. Ross Rasner and Elton Ford will back them up. Thomas made several big hits in the scrimmages.

--DL Damario Ambrose usually plays at the end spot, but was moved inside to tackle on passing downs in drills.

--Coach Bobby Petrino liked what he saw from the offensive line in spring ball. He thinks the Razorbacks have added enough depth to go with different combinations and survive the inevitable injuries that will hit once the season begins.

--Petrino said before spring drills began that he wanted to get a good look at redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Mitchell. The coach wasn't disappointed. Mitchell threw the ball well and stayed in the pocket despite being rushed. He also ran for an 88-yard touchdown in the spring game. The quarterback position looks to be in good hands after senior Ryan Mallett's career is over.


TE D.J. Williams -- He has improved his skills at catching the ball to go along with his blocking. He could emerge as a threat on third down.

LB Terrel Williams -- Moved to middle linebacker where he can rely more on his instincts, the sophomore made many impressive plays in drills.

TB Dennis Johnson -- He impressed the coaches throughout the spring with his ability to run the ball, catch passes out of the backfield and move in the open field.

WR De'Anthony Curtis -- The coaches moved him from tailback and it appears the decision will pay off. Curtis could push for playing time, even though the Razorbacks backs are deep at the position.

QB Jacoby Walker -- Walker, an early freshman enrollee out of Houston, completed 6 of 11 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think we've improved. Our players come with a sense of confidence and a greater understanding of what we're doing scheme-wise. We have to build on that." -- Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino on the progress the Razorbacks' defense made in spring ball.


2010 OUTLOOK: It's time for the Razorbacks to move up in the Southeastern Conference. If that's going to happen, some answers will come early. After hosting Missouri State to open the season, Arkansas travels to Georgia on Sept. 19, hoping to avenge a 52-41 loss last season. It won't get any easier the following week when defending national champion Alabama comes to town. After a non-conference game at Texas A&M, Arkansas hosts Auburn and visits Florida the following two weeks.

Only time will tell how the Razorbacks will fare in that stretch, but it's obvious Arkansas fans are expecting much more than a return trip to the Liberty Bowl.

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: It's difficult to come away with a lot of conclusions since Ryan Mallett missed all of spring ball because of his foot injury. Tyler Wilson ran the first team offense in spring camp. Brandon Mitchell and Jacoby Walker both played well. Arkansas is deep at receiver with Greg Childs, Jarius Wright and Joe Adams returning. Running back Ronnie Wingo Jr. was the top ball carrier in the spring game, but Knile Davis, Broderick Green and Dennis Johnson will get carries.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Coach Bobby Petrino stressed a physical, attacking unit going into spring ball. Petrino got what he wanted for the most part. He liked the way the way the defenders ran to the ball and made hits. The Razorbacks gave up 402 yards a game last season, a figure that must go down.

SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: Alex Tejada, whose field goal gave Arkansas a win over East Carolina in the Liberty Bowl, kicked a 38-yarder in the spring game. He also missed an extra point. On the punting front, Dylan Breeding out-kicked Nick Walters.


QB Jacoby Walker -- Walker is an early freshman enrollee out of Houston, Texas, who was recruited in case Ryan Mallett decided to enter the NFL Draft. Mallett is staying, but Walker now finds himself in a position to contend for a backup role. Coach Bobby Petrino calls him "very mature."

WR Lance Ray -- Ray played running back and safety in high school in Havana, Fla., and also returned kickoffs. He has nice size (6-3, 207) and is listed as No. 2 on the spring depth chart behind veteran Greg Childs.

LG Alvin Bailey -- Bailey, a redshirt freshman, is listed as 6-5, 323, and will compete with junior Grant Cook for a starting spot.

S Jerry Mitchell -- If nothing else, Mitchell, a redshirt freshman, should stick out in the secondary. He's stands 6-7. Mitchell is No. 2 on the depth chart behind senior Anthony Leon, who had two starts last year.


--Junior CB Isaac Madison, who missed all of last season because of a torn ACL, was eased back into drills. Madison was a starter in 2008.

--LB Jerry Franklin was hampered by an ankle injury throughout camp, which slowed him down.

--TE Austin Tate played in the spring game after being bothered by injuries in camp.

Previous Report: 04/11/2010




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