With senior Alonzo Highsmith out for the spring, the Razorback coaching staff decided to give veteran defensive end Tenarius Wright a look at linebacker.
He lined up with the first linebacking unit along with Tyler Gilbert (6-3, 244) and Matt Marshall (6-1, 230) while Chris Smith (6=2, 250) and Trey Flowers (6-4, 243) manned the first defensive end spots.
"He has played there before, he is much faster now than he did play there," Petrino added. "He has a want to do it so we will take a look at it and see how it works out.
"I did like what I saw," Petrino continued about Wright. "He did get tired, but it is a lot different – the amount of running and, the running downfield is a lot different so we will have to get him in shape."
Petrino noted that Wright's eyes lit home when told about the switch.
"He is excited about it," Petrino said. "He has always been a great team player. But I think in his heart that is what he wants to play anyway."
Gilbert started last season as a linebacker, moved up to defensive end and now is back at his old spot.
"Again it is one of those things where we are going to rotate and look at different combinations," Petrino said. "But he did have a good day yesterday. We liked what we saw, his instincts are better in there and he need a nice job of keeping his pad level (low) and shuffling his feet. We like the size and speed combination."
Arkansas can move Wright because of depth the Razorbacks have at defensive end, including mid-term enrolled Austin Flynn (6-5, 260).
"I like what we have there," Petrino said. "We have a junior college player that is real fast and strong. He obviously has a lot to learn, but he has great talent."
Petrino is very excited about what he is seeing out of tight end Demetrius Dean (6-3, 250), who signed with Arkansas in 2011 but didn't enroll until January of 2012.
"I think he is a real special talent," Petrino said. "You can see the way he runs and can move after the catch. I am really impressed with the way he can open his hips and stay running down field and catch balls behind him. He makes it look easy. He's got great hands.
"We are excited," Petrino added. "He's got a lot to learn, but when you have got him and Chris (Gragg) on the field, you have a chance to run the ball better. With the two of them on the field, it should help us with some personnel match-ups and also be able to throw the football."
Dean – wearing Greg Childs' old number of 85 - got up to 260 pounds while he was out of football, but is now in better shape.
"He has made a lot of improvement in just the amount of time he has been here," Petrino said. "He came in heavy, obviously not doing a lot of work. But I tell you what – he has got a great attitude and he works hard. They have shedded some pounds from him in the weight room and they will continue to do that. He has gotten stronger and he is making great strides in there and he is just going to continue to improve the next 6 to 18 months."
Petrino feels good about what his team has gotten accomplished in its first two of 15 spring practices.
"I think we got better in the two days," Petrino said. "I think there is no question that the defense came out today and ran to the football better and did the little things upfront better with their hands and getting off blocks."
Petrino said that was not the case during Wednesday's workout.
"I thought the coaches did a great job of emphasizing that because I wasn't really happy with the way the defense ran to the ball last night."
The offense has also looked good per Petrino.
"Offensively, our quarterbacks are throwing the ball well," Petrino said. "We are not catching the deep ball real well right now, but everything else I think we are doing a pretty good job of executing.
"We are not doing a whole lot in the run game when you are just in helmets and no pads, but you see Knile's cuts and the other running backs' cuts," Petrino added. "It looks good, but we will know more about the running game once we put the pads on."
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson – the SEC's first-team quarterback last season - has watched film of several NFL quarterback to try and help his development.
"It is kind of a combination of everything," Petrino said. "Some of the guys that we have had him watch are really, really good at their drops and timing and getting the ball out of his hands.
"We have always done a nice job of getting a lot of NFL film in after the season and getting cut-ups for different positions to watch," Petrino added. "Certainly the ones Tyler is watching are pretty good."
Petrino noted that wide receiver Marquel Wade has shined in the first two days.
"I have been happy with his first two practices," Petrino said. "He is very, very talented. He really works hard. That is one thing about Marquel is that he really works hard. He has a great motor and he is going to go hard every play.
"The thing he has to learn is how to be precise and be at the exact depth at the right time, make the right cut," Petrino added. "It really is going to come down to his route running and his timing. He's got good hands, he is going to catch it, he is going to run well after the catch and he is going to give us great effort. It's just perfecting being a receiver."
Petrino also likes what he has seen from fellow sophomore wideout Keante Minor.
"I have been really happy with him, too," Petrino said. "He had a great off-season. When you look at his stats – his profile I guess we call it – he is a guy with hardly any body fat, one of the strongest guys, most powerful guys on our team with as good a hands as there is.
"I think the thing that he has done this spring in these first two days is show that he can really learn the offense and go out there and know the calls, execute the routes," Petrino said. "When he does that, he is going to catch the football when it gets around him."
Walk on David Hurd got some work with the first team offensive line.
"He is getting some work in there," Petrino said. "He has done a really nice job in the off-season. We liked what we have seen out of him. We are going to rotate a lot of guys on the offensive front (this spring). Don't get caught up too much on the depth this spring on who is in there with what group because we are going to look at a lot of different combinations."
Arkansas now has gotten in two of its three non-pad workouts with the other coming the day before the April 21st spring game.
The team will be off from Spring Break next week.
"We want to make sure everybody is doing everything right, is very safe, come back from travels correctly, get back here and do some studying and we'll have plenty of time to get ready for our Tuesday practice," Petrino said
"It's always interesting how to set the schedule," Petrino added. "What I really wanted to do was finish the off-season program with two practices where you just go out in helmets.
"We got a lot of stuff installed in the last two days and we'll come back in the next practice- we won't install much, just kind of review and then start hitting each other," Petrino continued. That will be fun."