UA Notebook

Smith Practices Arkansas running back Michael Smith returned to practice Sunday night, improving his chances of being ready for Saturday's game at Mississippi State.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said the junior, who missed the second half of the South Carolina game because of a shoulder stinger, took part in the Razorbacks' 80-minute workout.

After missing all last week's practices because of the injury, Smith is expected to practice when Arkansas steps on the field again today.

"He looked very quick, fast," Petrino said Monday. "I think his legs are back (and) feeling good."

Petrino said Smith will wear a neck roll to help him prevent further injury, but said it needs some alterations after he practiced with it for the first time Sunday.

"It seemed a little bulky for him and it was bothering him a little bit," Petrino said. "But he felt real good and that was good to see."

The Razorbacks are hoping Smith can help the run game get back on track after two disappointing weeks.

Smith totaled 30 carries for 92 yards against Tulsa and South Carolina, struggling to get on track against defenses determined to stop the rushing attack. As a result, the junior — who was leading the Southeastern Conference in rushing yards a game — has fallen to second (112.4 yards) behind Georgia's Knowshon Moreno (113.1).

But center Jonathan Luigs said the week off should help Smith, who looked fresh Sunday night.

"He was running around real well. I think he got his leg back," Luigs said. "It really gave him a chance to just have a breather and not have to worry about things. Hopefully, he'll be able to come out and have a good performance."



Williams a Semifinalist

Arkansas sophomore D.J. Williams was named one of eight semifinalists for the Mackey Award, which is presented annually to the nation's top tight end.

Williams, who's the first Mackey Award semifinalist in school history, leads Arkansas with 44 catches for 573 yards and two touchdowns.

"He's had a terrific year," Petrino said. "He's been a guy that we rely on and have in the game almost all the time."

Other Mackey Award semifinalists are: Chase Coffman (Missouri), Jared Cook (South Carolina), Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma), Mark Hafner (Houston), Branden Ledbetter (Western Michigan), Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State) and Dennis Pitta (BYU).

Finalists will be announced next week and the award will be presented at the College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 11.



Injury Update

Along with Smith, several other Arkansas players who have been hampered lately by injuries were able to return to the practice field Sunday.

Defensive end Adrian Davis, who has missed the past two games with a sprained left knee, is close to returning to the lineup after taking part in all of the team drills on Sunday night.

Davis was Arkansas' sack leader before injuring his knee in a 23-21 loss at Ole Miss on Oct. 25. His four sacks trail only defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard (4 1/2 sacks) for the team lead, and without Davis, the Razorbacks have struggled to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

"He's going to help because he's a great pass rusher," Sheppard said of Davis' likely return.

Meanwhile, offensive guard Grant Cook (knee) was able to take part in Sunday's practice. Backup defensive end Damario Ambrose (knee) was limited to individual work during the team's first practice since last Thursday.

Petrino sounded optimistic that the Razorbacks will be close to full strength when they travel to MSU.

"We'll be as healthy as we've been all year, I think," Petrino said.

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