Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson surprised players by arriving with a new clean-cut look. His head was shaved and his popular handlebar mustache was gone.
"I just (saw) him," Arkansas cornerback Jamar Love said. "He said, ‘New look, new era.'"
There have already been plenty of changes since the end of last season, and Arkansas' players can expect a few more over the next couple of weeks.
A total of 105 players reported Sunday for the start of preseason camp. And even though most of the Razorbacks went through the spring with new coach Bobby Petrino, several players admitted that they're not sure what to expect this fall.
"We're as prepared as can be. I think we're prepared for the worst," tight end Andrew Davie said. "We don't know what to expect. We went through a coach Petrino spring and it was very difficult, obviously.
"So go ahead and throw another 30 degrees on top of that temperature. It's not going to be easy, and nobody thinks it's going to be easy."
The Razorbacks will hold their first preseason practice this afternoon with temperatures expected to climb close to 100 degrees. Freshmen will take the field at 3 p.m., and the remainder of the team will join them an hour later. Practice is open to the public.
"Like a little kid about to ride a roller coaster, I'm ready," free safety Rashaad Johnson said. "It's been a long summer, but I'm glad this day's here."
Petrino didn't speak with reporters Sunday, but Arkansas spokesperson Kevin Trainor said that every player who was expected to qualify academically for the fall reported on time.
The Razorbacks got a chance to get acclimated to Petrino's fast-pace practices during the spring. At the time, players were surprised by the intensity and the nonstop grind of going from one drill to another without much break.
But they should have a better idea of what to expect this fall. One of the main focuses over the next few weeks will be for Petrino and new his coaching staff to re-introduce their pass-happy offense following the long summer break.
"I don't think it's fully all the way in. I think the majority of it is in," quarterback Casey Dick said of the new offensive system. "We've still got some kinks and stuff to throw in that's going to help us out in a lot of ways."
Meanwhile, today will officially mark the debut of several highly touted freshman wide receivers who are expected to compete for playing time. And with a lack of experience at the position, newcomers like Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright will be closely watched by coaches and fans alike.
"They came a long way from where they were when they first got here. They've got some real speed," Dick said of the young receivers. "Joe Adams and Greg Childs and those guys have done a fantastic job of just studying, getting to know the playbook and just having fun with everybody being out there."
And like everyone else, today will be a new experience for them.
Today's Practice Schedule
When: 3 p.m. (freshmen), 4 p.m. (veterans)
Where: Arkansas practice fields
Note: Today's practice will be open to the public, and the other practices this week are expected to be open to fans as well.
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