Petrino's Practice Countdown

FAYETTEVILLE — For the past few months, a large digital clock inside Arkansas' weight room has counted down the days, minutes and seconds to when the Razorbacks will hold their first fall practice.

The clock serves as a constant reminder.

It was set so those football players who walk by know exactly how long they have until Arkansas starts the first period of its first practice on the first day of preseason camp.

"They walk by that thing 10 times a day. It's right in the backs of their minds," Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp said Wednesday morning. "They know at all times we're just 17 days away or we're just 19 days away."

For those who are counting, the Razorbacks are only 18 days away from their first preseason practice on Aug. 4. Not surprisingly, players are anxious to begin after spending the past few months working in Veltkamp's grueling offseason workout program.

"It is time," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said, sitting in his office Wednesday afternoon. "You start getting nervous and getting antsy about getting out on the field and getting going."

The Razorbacks will report to fall camp on Aug. 3, begin practice the following day and take part in their annual media day on Aug. 5.

Petrino said Arkansas' first few practices will look slightly different than the ones in the spring because coaches are restricted to when players can wear pads. He also has several newcomers to try to work into the fold, including a group of freshmen who will be competing for playing time at running back and linebacker.

"There is a lot more bodies out there, so sometimes it doesn't look as pretty as you want bringing the freshmen along and the new guys along," Petrino said. "But the way we operate and the way we practice will be very similar to what we did in the spring."

There is a chance that not everyone will be ready.

The status of Arkansas backup linebacker Wendel Davis remains uncertain after he injured his right hand during a traffic altercation on July 1, leading to his arrest on a felony charge of first-degree criminal mischief.

Petrino said earlier this month that he didn't think Davis' injury was "real severe," but he refused to say whether the linebacker had broken his hand.

Petrino on Wednesday stuck to his policy of not talking about injuries during the offseason and declined to say if Davis would be available for the start of fall camp.

Veltkamp, meanwhile, said Davis has continued to work out despite being limited in what he can do because of the hand injury.

"He's limited just like any other injury. He'll do (exercises with) three limbs and he'll be able to do manual stuff on that arm," Veltkamp said. "So we find a way to work around any kind of injury."

Petrino hasn't said what type of punishment Davis and fellow backup linebacker Freddy Burton could receive for their off-season problems. Burton was arrested two days before Davis on misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and careless driving.

"(The punishments) will be dealt with, and again I think it's too early to set that right now," Petrino said.

For the time being, Petrino admits he's looking forward to his first fall camp with the Razorbacks. He used the spring to get players acclimated to his pass-friendly offense and the nonstop pace of practice.

"Usually as a coach, when the Fourth of July passes, the rest of July goes like that," Petrino said, snapping his fingers. "It goes by real fast and practice is ready to go."

Arkansas' Key Dates

Players report Aug. 3

First practice Aug. 4

Media day Aug. 5

Season opener Aug. 30

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