Williams Productive

Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams needed only one game to match his number of catches for all of last season

The sophomore showed his increased role in Bobby Petrino's offense when he caught five passes for 45 yards in the 28-24 win against Western Illinois.

He had five receptions for 94 yards in 12 games as a freshman last season.

So was Williams surprised that he got so many passes thrown his way in the season opener?

"I wouldn't say very surprised because we worked so much in practice not just getting me the ball but all the other receivers as well because we rely on the passing game if the running game doesn't work the way we want it to be and vice versa," said Williams, who will return to his hometown of Little Rock on Saturday to face Louisiana-Monroe.

Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick found Williams on a 13-yard pass on the team's first offensive play, and by halftime, the tight end had gained 36 yards on four catches.

Williams has shown in practice that he's one of the Razorbacks' more reliable receivers, and he's capable of making tough catches in traffic.

He also has a way of attracting double teams, which helped wide receiver Carlton Salters get free for an 11-yard catch on a fourth-and-10 on Arkansas' final scoring drive.

Petrino said he plans to call more plays for Williams, adding that he expects big things from his starting tight end.

"He needs to be a go-to guy. He needs to be a guy that we write down plays (on) how to get the ball to him," Petrino said. "I have a tremendous amount of confidence in him, and I know the quarterbacks do."



What Petrino Learned

Petrino thought the defensive line was going to be a strength of the team this season. But after the group's lackluster performance in the opener, he sounded as if he was rethinking that notion Monday.

"I learned that I had a higher opinion of our defensive front than I should have," Petrino said.

The Razorbacks' front didn't accomplish much against Western Illinois. No one on the line recorded a sack, the group combined for just two tackles for losses. It was one of the big reasons the Leathernecks rushed for 157 yards and held onto the football for more than 36 minutes.

Defensive end Adrian Davis, who had eight tackles, said it wasn't a performance to be proud of. But he believes the Razorbacks will bounce back against Louisiana-Monroe.

"I think that's a challenge," Davis said of Petrino's comments. "I know we're going to be a lot better than we played. We've got to stop making mistakes and play harder."



Linebacker Help

Arkansas is hoping to get help at linebacker after starting three freshmen against Western Illinois.

Petrino said Ryan Powers and Wendel Davis could be in the mix for playing time this week after missing the opener with injuries. So is jack linebacker Walner Leandre, who was held out of the opener for an undisclosed reason. Arkansas may even have the option to play freshman Tenarius Wright, who had been sidelined because of an ankle injury.

Davis, in particular, impressed the coaching staff in practice last week after missing the start of the preseason with knee and hand injuries. But Petrino said he wasn't ready to play.

"He looked good. He got everybody excited with the way he ran around," Petrino said. "But it was one week of practice. You couldn't stick him in the game there."

The Razorbacks aren't expecting to have Elston Forte for the ULM game, though. Petrino said the senior, who is out with a knee injury, is "probably a week from being back."



Crawford Update

Receiver London Crawford remains questionable for Saturday's game after sustaining a concussion. But Petrino said the junior looked much better than Saturday night, when he was taken to the hospital on a stretcher.

"I saw him (Monday) morning," Petrino said. "He said he was feeling a lot better. I don't know what that means as far as getting on the field just yet, but it was encouraging. He had a smile on his face and was moving around real well."

Crawford — who caught two passes for 17 yards in the opener — wasn't included on the depth chart released for the Louisiana-Monroe game. In his place, freshman Greg Childs is listed as the starter at the ‘X' receiver position after grabbing six passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.



Quick Hits

• Petrino said there still is no update on the status of guard Mitch Petrus, who missed the opener for an unspecified reason. The Razorbacks haven't identified the reason for his absence, but Petrino said there was nothing new because the Razorbacks were out of school Monday.

• Arkansas will be listed as the visiting team for the ULM game Saturday. The schools agreed to a contract that allows ULM to count the attendance toward its requirement to maintain its Division I status. ULM was the home team in 2004 and 2006 and will be again in 2010 and 2012.

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