Arkansas Puts on Pads

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas running back Dennis Johnson was ecstatic to be wearing full pads Friday afternoon. In fact, the sophomore was so happy he didn't want to take them off.

"I love putting the pads on," Johnson said. "I couldn't wait to put these on. I might go sleep in them (Friday night)."

Johnson's enthusiasm was probably felt by plenty of others. Arkansas held its first, full contact practice of the spring and coach Bobby Petrino said it was obvious the Razorbacks were much more physical than last year.

The heavy hitting began with a full contact run drill and wrapped up with offensive and defensive players battling one-on-one in a exercise Petrino said was meant to be "fun."

"Sometimes players think everything is so hard and difficult," Petrino said. "They forget when they went to Pop Warner if they didn't hit at practice it was a bad day. ‘The coach didn't let us tackle today.' We did that for competition and for fun."

Several players were selected by Arkansas' coaches to go head-to-head in the one-on-one drill. The first duo picked was defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard and guard Mitch Petrus.

"That's part of being a football player," Sheppard said. "When your name is called you've got to go out there and compete in front of everybody. It was fun."

One of the day's biggest collisions came early, when linebacker Wendel Davis knocked 6-foot-1, 242-pound running back Broderick Green over with a big hit in run drills. But Green bounced back by bowling over defenders the next two times.

"When he lowers his shoulder it's like, ‘Somebody is about to get hurt,'" quarterback Ryan Mallett said of Green.

Scrimmage Today

The Razorbacks will hold their first scrimmage today. Petrino said it will be a "half practice, half scrimmage" that will likely take place indoors because of the weather.

No matter where it is held, Arkansas is counting on a long practice. The Razorbacks held lengthy scrimmages all last spring, the longest of which lasted roughly 180 plays.

"It's going to be at least 200 (today)," defensive end Jake Bequette guessed. "You've got to go out there and give your best every play and hope that you're standing in the end."

Feed the Beast

Mallett found receiver Jarius Wright in stride for a long touchdown catch Friday. It was the third time in the past two practices the two have hooked up for big plays.

"Jarius has a good burst going to get it," Mallett said. "I'll throw it to him if he wants it. You've got to feed the beast."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories