Running Backs Impress Petrino

Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino was impressed with his running backs after reviewing film from the Razorbacks' scrimmage on Sunday.

Starter Michael Smith had the big day after rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown. But freshmen De'Anthony Curtis (96 yards, one touchdown) and Dennis Johnson (69 yards) surprised Petrino with their confidence and toughness.

"They were probably the two guys I was a little concerned with early in camp, and then they came out (Sunday) when it was live bullets and ran hard and looked good," Petrino said. "That was nice to see. Those young guys have to be ready to play.

"They have to grow up quick. It'll be a lot of fun to see them get after it."

He also said sophomore Chip Gregory (66 yards and a touchdown) made a strong case to fill the role as a "big guy that can run downhill."

"We thought Chip showed great improvement from the spring," Petrino said. "He got his pads down, ran downhill and held onto the ball."

Franklin Making His Case

Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson called Arkansas' performance in Sunday's scrimmage "disappointing." But he said middle linebacker Jerry Franklin did provide one bright spot.

"From where he was in the spring time, Jerry seemed to have a very good scrimmage," he said. "He was solid on pass. He was solid in his tackling. So he took a step forward. But other than that, we fell off the edge."

Franklin had been fighting for the starting job with highly touted freshman Tenarius Wright. But Wright has missed the past two days because of an apparent ankle injury, leaving Franklin with most of the work.

Robinson is hoping the Razorbacks will have Wright back soon so the competition can continue.

"It's a major loss just because of the reps he's (not) getting," Robinson said. "(The injury is) nothing major to the point where it's a season-ending thing, so we're going to see how fast he can get back.

"We're definitely between playing with pain and injury. So you find that out about young kids as well."

Davie Goes Down

Arkansas' offense took a hit early in the first practice when tight end Andrew Davie sustained what appeared to be a shoulder injury.

Davie went down during the special teams portion of practice, when he collided with a scout-team player on a kickoff return. He left the field and didn't return.

He joined a growing list of players that couldn't practice Monday. The position with the most players missing was the defensive line, which practiced without Ernest Mitchell, Jake Bequette, Brandon Lampkin, Patrick Jones and Zach Stadther on Monday.

Who's Playing Fullback?

Arkansas feels good about the four tailbacks that are fighting for playing time. But position coach Tim Horton said he's still looking for fullbacks.

"We're struggling a little bit with who our fullback is going to be," Horton said.

The candidates include John Durmon, James Bornhoft and Mitchell Bailey. Horton said tight ends D.J. Williams, Ben Cleveland and Lance Thompson are also expected to get work at the position.

Horton said it's too early to tell how much the fullback will play a part in Arkansas' offense because the group is still trying to "find out what our identity is"

Quick Hits

• Receiver Joe Adams, who missed two practices because of an injury, returned to the field Monday.

• Horton said Adams is one of four players being evaluated as punt returners. The other three are Smith, Curtis and receiver Jarius Wright, who has been the first player to field punts in practices the past week.

• Sophomore Wade Grayson continued to work with the first-team offense at guard in place of senior Mitch Petrus on Monday. It is the third day Grayson has spent with the starting group.

• Arkansas will practice once today at 9 a.m. All practices are open to the public through Friday.

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