Freshmen Make Promising First Impression

FAYETTEVILLE — Jarius Wright described his first practice in an Arkansas uniform as "so-so." Joe Adams wasn't too pleased with himself, either.

"I had an all right day," Adams said Monday evening. "I dropped a couple of passes, but I looked past that. I'm ready for tomorrow."

It became apparent during Arkansas' first practice of the fall that coach Bobby Petrino isn't about to cut his freshman wide receivers any slack. The same goes for rookie running back De'Anthony Curtis.

None of the newcomers had a chance to take it easy Monday afternoon, despite the scorching heat that took a toll on players.

Instead, Adams, Anthony and Wright were thrown into team drills and expected to run routes, catch passes and at times work with the first-team offense. It was a harsh introduction to college life.

"I just wasn't used to the heat and all the reps. My legs were a little tired," Wright said. "But I kind of got back into the groove."

Wright made perhaps the biggest first impression on Petrino. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound freshman from Warren made up for his lack of size by showing off his speed while catching passes in a crowd and fielding punts on his first official day with the Razorbacks.

"He's very fast, very quick and he's tough. The heat, it didn't bother him at all," Petrino said. "He was tough and just went hard every play."

Wright also caught the eye of fellow wide receiver London Crawford with his ability to shake off any first-time jitters on Monday.

While Adams had some trouble catching passes and punts during the more than two-hour practice, Wright showed off his hands during team and individual drills.

"Jarius, that guy stood out the most of all. He's a great guy," said Crawford, who has emerged as the leader of the wide receiving corps. "He busted it every route, caught the ball, looked the ball in (and) finished. I just hope he can maintain it throughout the season."

Adams and Anthony had their own opportunities to make plays while working with the first-team offense and getting more touches than usual for freshmen.

Curtis, who was rated as the top high school prospect in the state of Arkansas coming out Camden, lined up at tailback and had the football thrown his way. He ran out of the backfield, caught screen passes and showed off his versatility.

Unlike Adams and Wright, Curtis said his first day as a Razorback went "pretty good."

"I like being out in space because I think that's the type of running back that I am," Curtis said. "It's just a lot of big plays waiting to be happen."

Along with the three newcomers, several other freshmen — including running back Dennis Johnson and Chris Gragg — got considerable work. But Adams, Anthony and Wright stood out in particular.

Adams got as much work as any other Arkansas wide receiver on the first day. He made a couple of long catches that impressed Petrino, but the freshman was disappointed at the end of the day with his drops.

However, one thing that Adams wasn't caught off-guard by was the amount of work he got on his first day. He and the other freshmen took to the field an hour before the rest of the team and had plays called for them throughout Monday's practice.

"I'm not surprised," Adams said. "Coach (Petrino) told us when he signed us that we were going to come in and work, so I wasn't surprised at all."

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