FOOTBALL: UA Notebook

Wide Receiver Rotation Freshman Jarius Wright is making a strong case to open the season as one of Arkansas' starting wide receivers, as well as its primary punt returner.

Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said Tuesday that Wright and fellow wide receiver London Crawford stood out during Saturday's closed scrimmage, giving the pair an upperhand at being named the starters.

"London had a real big day, made a lot of big plays and did good. So did Jarius Wright," said Petrino, who also serves as Arkansas' wide receivers coach. "So those two probably stepped forward at the receiver position."

Wright has impressed coaches with his consistency and ability to simply catch the football and make plays. Meanwhile, fellow wide receivers Carlton Salters, Joe Adams, Rod Coleman and Reggie Fish have each missed time over the past two weeks because of injuries.

Sophomore Marques Wade, who's suspended for the first two games of the season, missed practice Tuesday morning because of an undisclosed reason. Coleman was held out of practice because of an injury.

Wright has shown he can be a playmaker in a variety of ways. Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino indicated Monday that Wright leads the race to be the team's primary punt returner.



Quarterback Race

The competition between freshman Tyler Wilson and redshirt freshman Nathan Dick for the backup quarterback job has heated up over the past week.

Dick entered the start of fall camp listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind starter Casey Dick, his older brother. But Nathan Dick has been inconsistent in practice, opening the door for Wilson to make a strong impression with his decision-making.

"I think right now Casey, Tyler and Nathan Dick, those three guys are working with our top two groups," Arkansas quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee said. "That's pretty much all we know right now."

Paul Petrino indicated that the competition between Wilson and Nathan Dick will continue until one of them solidifies his place as the No. 2 quarterback.

"There is some good competition there right now," Paul Petrino said. "Tyler has been looking good, he's been improving and Nathan had a pretty good day there himself."



Norton On The Mend

Arkansas cornerback Jerell Norton, who has been sidelined since having hernia surgery on Aug. 4, made his first appearance in a long time during practice Tuesday afternoon.

The junior didn't participate in practice, but caught passes from a ball-throwing machine during the 20-minute window open to reporters.

"He has been out working and trying to get back on the field for practice, but he's not there yet," Bobby Petrino said. "He's just really rehabbing, and he's doing well. He's way ahead of schedule.

"The reports are very encouraging, but he hasn't really taken any snaps in practice yet."

Petrino said on the first day of preseason practice that Norton would be sidelined 4-6 weeks because of the surgery, leaving the Razorbacks without one of their more experienced cornerbacks.

When asked if he's considering redshirting Norton, Petrino said, "It's a long, long way to go to talk about redshirting him."



End of Two-A-Days

Tuesday marked the last time during fall camp that Arkansas will hold two practices in the same day.

The Razorbacks went through a full practice Tuesday morning, then closed the evening with a shortened practice that included situational drills and 40 minutes of special teams work.

"Last two-a-day, I'm sure the players are pretty fired up about that," said Petrino, who has indicated that his players are worn down after the long two-a-day schedule.



Quick Hits

• Matt Crowder, a fullback from Harrison, was a newcomer at practice on Tuesday afternoon. He showed up wearing a white No. 22 jersey, the same number as freshman running back Albert Gary. Gary is still listed on Arkansas' roster, but he hasn't been cleared to practice.

• Bob Petrino, the father of Bobby and Paul Petrino, attended practice Tuesday morning. The elder Petrino is the former longtime football coach at Carroll College, an NAIA program in Helena, Mont.



—Alex Abrams • The Morning News

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