Coaches Send Message By Demoting Robinson

FAYETTEVILLE -- Junior Antwain Robinson was expected to be a dominant pass-rusher and experienced leader on Arkansas' defensive line.

But he's in the doghouse at the moment.

Sophomore Adrian Davis, meanwhile, is a former backup linebacker who was moved to defensive end in the spring to add depth to the position.

But he's in the starting lineup for the time being.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt on Friday released his two-deep depth chart for next Saturday's season opener against Troy University. One surprise that stood out immediately involved the starting defensive ends.

Despite recording 8 1/2 sacks as a starter last season, Robinson is listed as Davis' backup at the right defensive end position. The news took Davis by surprise.

"I wasn't really expecting it. I was expecting to play and help this team anyway could," said Davis, who bulked up in the offseason to better prepare for the move to defensive end. "So I should be ready."

Robinson's demotion is further proof that he's still in the doghouse following his March 18 arrest for shoplifting a pair of shirts from the Dillard's department store at the Northwest Arkansas Mall.

Robinson briefly regained his starting job at the start of preseason practice, but coaches have been critical of the junior's work ethic in practice.

"He's a good player, yes, but it's more than just being a football player," Arkansas defensive line coach Tracy Rocker said of Robinson. "It's about doing things right, and that's what's important to us around here."

Robinson started all but one game last season at right defensive end. He finished second on Arkansas with 8 1/2 sacks, and his 14 1/2 tackles for loss were good enough for fourth-best in the Southeastern Conference in 2006.

But Davis beat out Robinson for the starting job by showing more consistency and hard work in preseason practice.

"Even without the depth chart, they know that (nothing is guaranteed)," Nutt said.

Senior Marcus Harrison, who is still rehabilitating from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during the first week of spring practice, is listed as the starting left defensive end spot opposite Davis.

Harrison was moved from defensive tackle to defensive end earlier this month. The fact that he was included on the first-team defense suggests that he might be healthy enough to play in the season opener.

"I'm hoping," Rocker said. "It's always day to day and just keep trying to work."

Aside from the defensive line, there wasn't much surprise when the depth chart was released.

As expected, freshman Nathan Dick was listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind starter Casey Dick, his older brother.

Sophomore London Crawford will start at split end, even though freshman Crosby Tuck has emerged as a pleasant surprise over the past three weeks.

Nutt said Crawford got the edge over Tuck because he's an experienced player, a physical blocker and a bigger target in a crowd.

Meanwhile, junior Reggie Fish and senior Robert Johnson have been listed as co-starters at the flanker position.

Senior Marcus Monk, Arkansas' leading receiver last season, was not listed anywhere on the two-deep depth chart.

Monk is expected to be sidelined for several weeks after having arthroscopic surgery Aug. 13 on his right knee. It's uncertain if he'll be ready in time for Arkansas' SEC opener at Alabama on Sept. 15.

Most of the depth chart had already been finalized before Friday, but there were still a few competitions remaining for the final starting jobs.

Freshman Rhett Richardson got the nod at deep snapper, and Fish and sophomore running back Michael Smith will handle the punt return responsibilities.

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