Arkansas Running Backs

Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino gave Hawgs Illustrated his assessment of the running backs following spring drills. This is part of a series to run over the next week at HI.com.

COACH'S ASSESSENT
Paul Petrino on Running Backs:

Overview: There are four of them who it's going to be their last season playing here, so they have to go for it, lay it all on the line and do everything they can to be the best players they can be and go make it happen. As a group, they all catch the ball real well. It's something they can work on and keep getting better at. They have to take pride they're going to run the football and run to win. That's something both they and the offensive line have to take pride in.

Knile Davis
6-0, 226, JR
He's got that next gear. He can accelerate through the hole and get those 50-yard touchdowns as opposed to where some guys can only get you 12- or 15-yard gains. He went through every single practice except for the scrimmages in the spring. He got a lot of reps and it was good for him to be back out there making the cuts, working on his reads, catching the ball. It was a big spring for him. He practiced hard every day. He's a real good leader for us. He wasn't tackled, but he went through some periods where he got a good thud. He's been playing football for a long time. If he was a true freshman, it might worry you a little bit, but he's been through enough SEC games that he understands the contact of the sport. We're excited to get him out there.

Dennis Johnson
5-9, 213, SR
He's the career leader in kickoff returns, which is the first offense play when we get the ball. There are definitely runs Dennis is real good at — the draw, the lead draw, he can catch the ball real well. If you go back and look at Dennis' career, his best games have been against the best teams, so that's a real positive for him. I thought Dennis had a good spring. He had some real good runs for us and improved his pass protection, which he needed to do. Dennis has a real good feel for a lot of the routes and does a good job of getting himself open.

Ronnie Wingo
6-3, 231, SR
Ronnie really improved this spring. He ran with better pad level and ran with more power. I was really happy with Ronnie. I thought he improved as much as anybody on the offense throughout the spring. It was good for him Knile didn't get carries in the scrimmage because he got more. We kind of got a better feel for some of the runs he does best, too. I look for Ronnie to have a big senior year and do a good job.

Kody Walker
6-2, 240, FR
He could be our goal line back, but it will be something we'll find out through two-a-days. I thought he did a good job of it last year. He's a big, powerful runner. He's still got to improve his pad level and get his pads down when he runs. But he's big and he does a good job of falling forward, so he can be good for us in short-yardage.

Kiero Small
5-10, 255, SR
Kiero is as good of a football player as there is on the team. He's really smart and helps the other players understand what they're doing. He helps call out the defensive fronts, is physical, practices hard and is just a really good football player. Because of what a good football player he is, I think we need to get that personnel in enough to help us win games.

Morgan Linton
5-11, 240, SO
Morgan Linton did a good job this spring. He's a powerful guy and a good lead-blocker. He has enough hip flexibility that he can read the blocks on the run and get onto the linebackers. He also caught the ball pretty well. He's a good football player.

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