Williams Enjoys Breakout Performance

FAYETTEVILLE — D.J. Williams had five catches last season.

The sophomore from Little Rock had that many catches by the end of the first quarter on Saturday.

Williams finished with nine catches for 80 yards while playing for the Red team, continuing a breakout spring for the 6-foot-2, 250-pound tight end.

"I think D.J. can be as good a tight end as there is in the country," Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said.

Williams averaged 18.8 yards per catch on his five grabs last season. On Saturday, he had eight catches at halftime, including an 11-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Casey Dick that put the Red team up 21-7.

"He'll be a major playmaker for us," said Arkansas running backs/tight ends coach Tim Horton said. "He's got great ball skills, he can run good routes, he's smart and does good things with the ball after he catches it.

"He's going to be a prime receiver for us all season."

After former Arkansas coach Houston Nutt made the move to Ole Miss last December, Williams thought briefly about following his former coach. Williams was glad Saturday night he made the decision to stay at Arkansas.

"At first it's hard for everybody to adjust and everybody doesn't like trying out new things," Williams said. "But coach (Bobby) Petrino is a great guy, and everybody took time to get to know him.

"We respect him, and he respects us back."

Robinson Back In Form

Antwain Robinson looked more like the 2006 version of himself on Saturday night, rather than the 2007 one. The defensive end had four tackles, including 2 1/2 for losses and 1 1/2 sacks, including one of quarterback Nathan Dick on the second offensive play for the White team.

That performance was more in line with 2006 for the 6-2, 258-pound senior from Little Rock. In 2006, Robinson finished with 68 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks. However, last season, Robinson's season started slowly due to a knee injury and he never completely lived up to expectations — finishing with 35 tackles and just three sacks.

"I feel like we came out and made a couple of plays and did a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback," Robinson said.

"I think this was a good jump start for all of us."

Helping Both Sides

Arkansas running back Brandon Barnett helped both teams during the Red-White scrimmage.

Barnett was one of a handful of players who suited up for both teams Saturday. He spent the first half with the White, changed jerseys at halftime, and played the second half with the Red.

The junior scored the White's second touchdown on a 16-yard run. He got into the end zone twice for the Red in the second half.

Other players that played for both teams included running back Chip Gregory, safety Rashad Johnson, defensive tackle Patrick Jones, fullback John Durmon and guard Wade Grayson.

Big Play Rod

Receivers London Crawford and Marques Wade have received much of the attention this spring because of their work with the starters. But junior Rod Coleman made a few big plays Saturday.

The first came on a 50-yard pass from quarterback Nathan Dick, which set up the White's first touchdown. The second was a 26-yard gain on a reverse, which set up its second score.

"We've been happy with Rod coming out of a couple of scrimmages now," coach Bobby Petrino said. "He showed that he has the speed to go deep. He went up and got the ball on the deep ball.

"I think he just needs to improve consistently with his hands so he can run the other routes."

Out of Action

There were a handful of Razorbacks who didn't play in the Red-White Game.

Defensive linemen Marcus Shavers and Ernest Mitchell and linebacker Wendel Davis have been sidelined all spring because of offseason surgeries.

In addition, cornerbacks Jerell Norton and Isaac Davis, quarterback Ryan Mallett and running back Torian Wilkins missed the scrimmage with injuries.

Draft Chatter

Petrino didn't get to coach former running backs Darren McFadden or Felix Jones, but the first-year coach said it was good to see both players selected in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

"It's too bad they weren't both back lining up for us next year," Petrino said. "It's great for them. I certainly congratulate them. They've been excellent representatives of Arkansas football. I'm sure they'll continue to do that."

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