Senior Alonzo Highsmith missed the workout after tweaking his hamstring during the first of Saturday's two practices.
Linebackers Terrell Williams, Jarrett Lake, Austin Jones, Braylon Mitchell, Matt Marshall and true freshman Otha Peters all saw at least some first-team reps in his absence.
"I really like Lake," Smith said. "Lake has progressed a bunch. Braylon Mitchell is getting better, playing with a better pad level and understanding a little bit more about the game. But I like what they have done. Just using Matt Marshall as an example, he has gained a bunch of weight over the summer as well.
"Those guys are working hard at it, but losing Highsmith for a day or so – or how long it is going to be as we have to wait and see after tweaking his ham – it is good for those other guys to step up and take some reps."
"Reallllllllly well," Smith said. "It's good."
Asked to elaborate, Smith did – kind of.
"It was a long really," Smith joked. "Brandon, you look at him going through individual drills - as he is trying to split things up – and he is really going to give us some help. He is going to do a great job at catching the ball. It is a big, big target and he is just very athletic. It is a hard body to fight through. We love what we are seeing so far."
Tailback Ronnie Wingo is also getting wideout reps.
"Ronnie is athletic enough so we are going to have to use him in some situations out there," Smith said. "Now he is not spending as near as much time down there (as Mitchell) working on it. We just kind of relay the route and say go run this. He can give you a fresh set of legs and again a big body that can go in there and catch the ball. You may see him start to be worked into that role a little bit more as well."
Arkansas decided to have just one practice on Sunday instead of the previously scheduled two that would have split up the rookies and the veterans for a fourth straight day.
Safety Eric Bennett, fullback Morgan Linton and tight end Brett Weir all missed the practice due to injuries or heat-related issues.
They worked in shell pads and will be fully padded up when they hit the field Monday night at 6 p.m.
"We had the first day we came together and we did that a little bit earlier than we had originally planned," Smith said. "We got the rookies incorporated, which I think was a good deal to get out here in shells before we pad up completely. It kind of got everybody together and show them what practice is all about.
"The other reason is for academics so we can give them all afternoon…after chapel that they can spend on academics," Smith added.
Smith noted the rookies were dealing with the adjustment of being around the veterans and an increased tempo in practice.
"Their eyes are open," Smith said. "They are trying. That's why we wanted to get them in today prior to pads, get them in there in the shell and introduce them a little bit to the speed of it. It is going to take them a day or two, but we are going to just keep yelling at them and patting them on the tail and getting them going in the right direction."
Overall, Smith was happy to see Sunday's practice take a swing back the right way.
"The first one was real good, then we had a little bit of a lull and came back with a nice bark today – particularly on the offensive side," Smith said. "We were much better on the defensive side."
Smith stresses that some players – especially some of the young ones – have to grasp what college practices are all about.
"We have got to come out and learn that we are just not trying to get through practice," Smith continued, "and that we are coming out with a purpose and really get better when we are out here. We are still learning that with some guys."
One place that seems to get it is a deep defensive line that should provide a rotation strong enough to roll players in and out.
"I think we have enough two deep depth in tackles and ends that - as you look at it – we have the young guys and right now we just bring them along and you say ‘maybe we don't plan on using those guys.
"We are able to rotate those guys and keep them fresh and then once you add possibly (linebacker Tenarius) Tank (Wright) down in there in passing situations, you are going to have enough rotation to keep your guys fresh," Smith added.
Smith smiles when he thinks about having fresh linemen throughout a game.
"The biggest deal is when you can't go, we are going to get somebody else in there," Smith said. "If we can keep rotating the entire game, it is going to be pretty good. It is going to help us a ton."
Arkansas lost three receivers to the NFL draft, one to transfer and two others to legal issues.
But incoming wideouts such as junior college star Demetrius Wilson and incoming freshman Keon Hatcher and D'Arthur Cowan appear poised to contribute significantly along with Mitchell and Wingo.
"Those first couple of games are going to be great for us as well in terms of getting experience and hopefully testing those guys out – trying to get reps and reps and reps," Smith said. "Are we totally comfortable? We'll get comfortable. That's what it is about from here on out – working the young guys in that we are going to have to work in."
Smith noted that having veteran quarterback Tyler Wilson upright will help those newcomers make plays.
"But we are particularly comfortable with that guy throwing the ball so we have to protect him and he will put it in a spot where those guys can at least get a chance to catch the darn thing," Smith added.
The Monday practice will have plenty of contact, which sparked a question as to how much tailback Knile Davis – coming off a season-ending injury – will see of that.
"We are still waiting (to make a decision) on Knile," Smith said. "But he looks awfully good, though. He looks awful fast."
Davis has been a leader on the field in how hard he is continuing to run 40-plus yards to the end zone after the play has been whistled dead.
"We stress that with all of our guys, not only the running backs, but the wideouts," Smith said. "I think you see a young guy like Nate Holmes, who is picking up on that and sprinting and running. It is nothing more than getting better, staying in shape and learning to score on every play.
"Knile knows that and he is teaching those other guys that as well," Smith said. "We try to instill that in all of our guys."