Kiero Small has heard all the new nicknames: Biggie Small, Piggie Small, just Smalls or his personal favorite and the one that he has answered to for the longest – Ro.
But the ones the new Arkansas fullback most wants to be called are starter, contributor, protector and most of all – winner.
"No matter what they call me – and I prefer Ro – I just want to come in and help this football team," Small said. "The plan was for me to come in and play right away so I am getting down to business right now so I am ready from game one."
Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino likes what he sees from Small, a 5-10, 255-pounder who played his junior college football at Hartnell (CA) Community College after prepping in Maryland.
"I really like Kiero," Petrino said. "He has become a very quick learner. He understands the game of football. He is really quick in the hole and out of the hole and is able to deliver a blow when he gets there. I'm encouraged. I think he will really help our running game and he catches the ball really well. He has good instincts when he carries it."
Small, who played both linebacker (120 tackles) and some fullback (one touchdown catch, one TD run) at Hartnell, is well aware of his role at Arkansas.
"Block, catch and occasionally run," Small said. "Ocassionally run."
"It is a proud position," Small said. "You have got to go stick your nose in there where a lot of people wouldn't want to really. I take pride in that. With Knile and Wingo and those guys, I don't want them to be hit much."
Small has shown a lot of play-making ability in practice while catching the ball out of the backfield.
"I've got pretty good hands so I can catch out of the backfield," Small said. "I can catch a little bit and I have been running after the catch. The coaching staff has seen that and they have been using it."
Small believes he brings a linebacker mentality to fullback.
"It is basically the same position in some senses," Small said. "Of course it is different, but in both you go hit people. On this you have got to be more disciplined. You have to take certain tracks, but when you get there it is basically the same position."
He very well could become the Razorbacks' short-yardage bell cow according to Petrino.
"We have got to find out if he is going to be our short yardage or is it going to be Knile, Ronnie or Dennis," Petrino said. "We have to replace Broderick Green in that aspect of our game. We have got to find that out in camp."
Small takes pride in being the protector for tailbacks Knile Davis, Ronnie Wingo and Dennis Johnson.
While the Razorbacks aren't tackling to the ground yet, Small notes the fullbacks are doing about what they would in a game.
"We're hitting," Small said. "As fullbacks, you hit and you make contact and I am doing what I would be doing. Probably the only other thing I would be doing is cutting and I am not in no rush to cut my teammate."
Small is working at fullback along with redshirt freshman Morgan Linton and true freshman Kody Walker and Brad Shearin – all under the tutelage of assistant Tim Horton.
"All the fullbacks are great," Small said. "We are helping each other out in the film room, on the field. If I don't know something they help me, if they don't I help them. We put our heads together and we come up with the concept. Coach Horton does a very good job of coaching us."
Small has been amazed at the speed of an Arkansas practice.
"It's a fast pace and the tempo we go at is fast," Small said. "It's unlike anything I have been around, but I think I am catching on."
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