ARKANSAS NOTES: Hogs Introduce New Position

Arkansas' defensive plans will include a new position this fall.

Coach Bobby Petrino said during Arkansas' Media Day that the defense has been installing new schemes to include what they're calling a "Jack" linebacker. The Razorbacks plan to employ a safety at what defensive coordinator Willy Robinson referred to Tuesday as a hybrid position.

The position will give Arkansas' defense a 4-2-5 look to help combat its depth problems at linebacker. But Robinson insisted the defense will stick with a 4-3 base scheme.

Senior strong safety Walner Leandre and redshirt freshman Bret Harris spent much of the time at the "Jack" position Tuesday. Others, like senior Dallas Washington, are expected to earn work at the new spot this preseason.

"All of a sudden if you take a kid from the back end and move him up (to linebacker), the game is that much quicker," Robinson said. "You're looking for a guy that has a feel for the game and picks things up that quickly."



Barnett Anxious To Return From Injury

Running back Brandon Barnett is ready to return to the field, but it might take a few days before he gets the chance.

Barnett has been sidelined while recovering from offseason surgery to repair what he said was a torn lateral meniscus and a fracture to the medial collateral ligament in his left leg.

"It's been a long, long road with it, but it's getting better," he said. "Hopefully in a couple of days, I can be out there."

The junior is expected to be in the mix for playing time at running back. He showed potential in the spring despite suffering the injury in the first week of practice.

Barnett said he's around "90 percent," but trainers want to make sure his leg is fine to prevent further injury.



Crowded at Quarterback

Redshirt freshman Nathan Dick has never been in a quarterback race as crowded as the one at Arkansas.

There are six quarterbacks on the roster, including backups, freshmen and returning starter Casey Dick.

"There are a lot (of quarterbacks) out there, but you've just got to go out there and when it's your turn, you got to try to do the best you can do," Nathan Dick said.

The battle for playing time is expected to thin out over the next two weeks as the quarterbacks continue to compete.

"We're going to have to let it play out for about 10 days and then make some decisions about who the (No. 1 quarterback) is, who the (No. 2 quarterback) is," Petrino said. "They'll get most of the reps and most of the work. You need to get more reps for them."



Injury Report

Barnett, offensive lineman Kareem Crowell, tight end Ben Cleveland, linebacker Wendel Davis and running back Albert Gary didn't practice Tuesday.

Cleveland's absence was the most notable after he participated Monday. But teammate Andrew Davie said Cleveland was bothered by his recurring foot injury.

"I think he's doing the best he can," Davie said.

In addition, receiver London Crawford left early. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said Crawford was cramping up.



Battling the Heat

With temperatures reaching close to 100 degrees, Arkansas is paying close attention to how players handle the heat.

Petrino said the team has a system to make sure players aren't at risk by sweating off too much weight.

"We weigh everybody in before practice, we weigh them in after practice and then we weigh them again the next morning," Petrino said. "We want to see how many pounds they lost in practice, how many they gained back over the night. We had a couple of players that lost up to 10 pounds during (Monday's) practice and then they gain it back. If they don't gain a certain percentage of it back, then they don't get to practice the next day."



— Robbie Neiswanger and Alex Abrams

Hawgs Daily Top Stories