Tuesday Grid Update, 9/2

Things didn't go exactly perfect for the offense on Tuesday and coordinator Paul Petrino was clear after the Hogs went inside Walker Pavilion for a long, full-padded workout.

Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino liked the way the Arkansas football team fought back in the second half to defeat Western Illinois, 28-24. But he didn't like the way they practiced Tuesday.

On the game performance, Petrino said, "I'm happy we came back and won. The guys didn't fold the tent. We came back and threw, caught and blocked and won the game."

However, not all of that was evident at practice -- held inside Walker Pavilion after steady rains hit Northwest Arkansas early on Tuesday.

"We practice hard on Tuesdays," said Petrino, who coaches the wide receivers. "Our guys better get used to that because we are going to expect a hard practice on Tuesdays. We didn't come out and execute, didn't have enthusiasm and some guys were not into it.

"Were we surprised? I'm always surprised when we don't practice well. I'm not sure our guys understand that Tuesday is a hard practice. They will understand.

"We had two many mental mistakes today. What was wrong? The offense had a bad day period. It wasn't necessarily the wide receivers. But on offense it takes all 11 for it to be a good play. That didn't happen today."

Wide receiver Carlton Salters said the same thing. He noted a lackluster practice, too.

"We didn't have a good day and will need to improve tomorrow," Salters said. "I know this team will do that. We have to come back with a better day."

Salters made a key play against WIU, hauling in a pass from Casey Dick to convert a fourth-and-10 on the Hogs' winning drive in the fourth quarter.

"There was a gap for Casey to throw it, but not much of a gap," Salters said. "The linebacker, a good player, was on my back. Casey put it in a good place. He was close, close enough that he ripped my helmet off to end the play."

The Hogs improved on offense in the second half. They scored on every possession except for a lost fumble by Salters after a completion.

"I was the only one who stopped a drive," Salters said. "I fumbled. I didn't tuck away the football. I saw some daylight ahead and was trying to break a tackle. I thought I was going to go a little further and didn't tuck it away."

The Hogs saw a change in the depth chart at wide receiver on Tuesday because starter London Crawford -- bothered after a slight concussion -- was held out of practice after going through the pre-practice routine and stretch.

"We moved up Greg Childs and you could tell he wasn't used to the additional reps," Petrino said. "He got a little tired at the end of practice."

Crosby Tuck moved from another spot in the Hogs' list of three wideout positions to take snaps behind Childs on the second team.

Crawford has not been ruled out for Saturday night's game with Louisiana-Monroe in Little Rock. Petrino said there is no rule on the coaching staff that requires a player to return by a specific day in order to play.

"We don't have a rule like that, but I'd think he needs to be out there tomorrow (Wednesday)," Petrino said. "He needs to be back at practice."

Petrino said he wasn't surprised at the big night in the opener from Greg Childs.

"He caught a lot of passes on Wednesday and Thursday in practice and when you have a good practice you are often going to have your number called in a game," Petrino said. "What looks good in practice usually works in the game."

Joe Adams also had a big game, making plays earlier and getting most of the time ahead of Jarius Wright at that wideout slot.

"Jarius had done nothing wrong in practice," Petrino said. "He'd practiced hard. But Joe sparked us early and had a bounce to his step. He had a great bounce. We gave him a little more, he played a little more because of that bounce and that spark.

"That's the way we will handle it. If things are going well for you, you may get a little more. Jarius didn't do anything wrong. It just worked that way in the game."

Michael Smith practiced with the first team at running back after missing the opener because of a suspension for selling scholarship books. Apparently, it was an offense noted earlier and Smith knew he might miss the opener for some time.

"I knew it was a possibility a while back," Smith said. "But Coach (Bobby) Petrino told me to practice like I was going to play. We found out for sure (last week).

"It really hurt to miss the game. But it's something you have to take and learn from. It was extremely hard. I knew it might happen, but I had to put it on the back burner this fall and practice hard. Officially, I didn't know until last week."

How did his backups perform? Freshmen De'Anthony Curtis and Dennis Johnson took the snaps at running back against WIU.

"They responded well," Smith said. "They are freshmen and faced a difficult situation and they did well. It was good for them to get out there and play like that."

Most expect the Arkansas running game to improve with Smith back in the lineup. What will he bring to the team?

"Better experience and better knowledge of the plays," Smith said. "As for the running game, we have to go out and play and try to be more balanced. We know we have to do that."

What is his role this week?

"I talked to the coach and he told me to just go out and execute the way I know how," Smith said. "We didn't do what we were supposed to do today. We have to have a better day tomorrow."

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