Running Game In Progress

It might sound odd considering Arkansas' reputation for being one of the nation's top rushing teams. But the Razorbacks have had trouble running the football over the first four games of the season.

Arkansas' offensive line struggles, coupled with its need to make up large deficits in the second half, have forced coach Bobby Petrino to abandon the run at times.

As a result, the Hogs rank last in the Southeastern Conference and 109th in the nation with an average of 90.5 yards rushing per game. In contrast, opponents are averaging 191.0 ypg. rushing against Arkansas' defense.

Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said the team made a concerted effort to improve the running game during Tuesday's two-hour practice.

He added that a new running package was implemented for Saturday's 11:30 a.m. game against No. 12 Florida in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"Some things we think we can execute in this game we worked on real hard (Tuesday), and we had a couple extra periods in practice (Tuesday) to work on it," Petrino said of the struggling running game. "So that's something that we need to improve on."

Arkansas has yet to find a second running back to complement starter Michael Smith, and the offense finished with only 11 yards rushing in last Saturday's 52-10 loss at fifth-ranked Texas.

Smith gained 42 yards on 13 carries, but seven sacks by the Longhorns caused quarterbacks Casey Dick and Tyler Wilson to lose 58 yards.

"We've got to work on (the running game) all in practice," Dick said. "We got to work extra after practice, before practice (on it)."



Miller Returns, Ambrose Sits

Arkansas wide receiver Lucas Miller returned to practice Tuesday after missing last Saturday's game at Texas because of a concussion.

The junior has been sidelined over the past few days while recovering from the effects of a concussion suffered in a 49-14 loss to second-ranked Alabama on Sept. 20.

But Miller is expected to be ready in time for Saturday's game against Florida, and his return to practice was at least a promising sign.

"He looked OK. He was a little rusty because he'd been gone all week," Petrino said. "But it was good to have him out here."

Meanwhile, Arkansas backup defensive end Damario Ambrose appeared to be held out of practice because of an undisclosed injury.

Ambrose participated in rehab exercises with Arkansas' other injured players at the start of practice. He's listed on the depth chart as the No. 2 defensive end behind junior Adrian Davis.

Hogs Rebound

Much of the talk over the past few days has been on how would the Razorbacks respond following a pair of lopsided losses to Alabama and Texas. Apparently, that wasn't a problem Tuesday when Arkansas returned to the practice field for the first time this week.

"We had a fantastic practice (and) executed well. Throw and caught well," Dick said. "I think we only had a couple of balls hit the ground during practice."

Arkansas' coaches have insisted that the players have looked good for the most part in the practices leading up to each of their four games. That was the case again Tuesday.

"We talked to them today about coming out here with a great attitude and great energy," Petrino said. "And I thought they responded and did a great job of it."



More Padding Arkansas' wide receivers don't need to worry anymore about running into the concrete wall that surrounds one side of the team's practice fields.

The walls were covered recently with thick, green padding that extends several dozen feet.

It wasn't uncommon during practice for players, usually receivers, to nearly run into the concrete walls while trying to make a play. They'll have a softer landing now.

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