Johnson Sidelined with Ankle Injury

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino is hoping to have much more depth in his backfield next season.

But the group had one more member missing Friday.

Sophomore Dennis Johnson didn't participate in practice after suffering an ankle injury during Wednesday's scrimmage. Arkansas running backs coach Tim Horton said he didn't know the extent of the injury Friday night, but said Johnson underwent X-rays and has been wearing a walking boot.

Johnson isn't expected to be play in today's scrimmage, but Horton is hoping he'll return to practice next week.

"I saw when it happened and, to be honest, he kept on playing," Horton said. "He wasn't playing as fast as he normally plays, but he tried to gut it out and go through it. After practice they did some evaluations and he just couldn't go."

Johnson is the second running back to go down with an ankle injury this week. Arkansas lost freshman Knile Davis for the spring because of a broken right ankle on Tuesday. It was the same ankle Davis broke in high school last fall.

Arkansas also has been without returning starter Michael Smith (hamstring surgery) and senior Brandon Barnett (death in the family) this spring. Without them, De'Anthony Curtis, Broderick Green, Adrian Moore and fullback Mitchell Bailey split carries at tailback Friday. They will carry the load today.

"We feel real comfortable with the ones we have," Horton said about today's scrimmage. "We've got four or five guys that I feel like we could go to and I think it will be great for them because sometimes they don't get the reps that they would like. They're going to get them (today)."

Willy Happy

Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson liked what he saw out of his group during Wednesday's scrimmage. After struggling during last Saturday's scrimmage, the defense tackled better, got pressure on the quarterback and forced three turnovers.

"We stayed really generic, stayed base," Robinson said. "We wanted to come out and play tough, try to play assignment free and our kids tackled and ran to the ball well. ... We played our staples on defense and we felt good about how we played."

Robinson said he was particularly impressed with safety Tramain Thomas, cornerback Isaac Madison, linebacker Jerry Franklin and defensive end Damario Ambrose. Robinson said he's expecting the same effort when Arkansas scrimmages in Reynolds Razorback Stadium this morning at 10.

"We're still looking for the same enthusiasm, running to the football, execution on both sides," Robinson said. "There's going to be a give and take with it. We want to see how everybody responds when they get hit in the mouth."

Scrimmage Today

Arkansas scrimmaged 93 plays a week ago. It went 115 plays on Wednesday. But the Razorbacks believe they'll be on the field even longer when they step on the field this morning.

Thomas said one good indication is what Arkansas was wearing during Friday's practice. The Hogs weren't in full pads.

"We've got our shorts on," Thomas said. "So (today) is going to be one of those days where you've just got to grind and take it play-by-play and go full speed each play."

Mallett Pleads Guilty

Quarterback Ryan Mallett pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication during his arraignment in Fayetteville District Court.

Mallett was ordered to pay a $50 fine, $100 in court costs and a $5 Washington County fee.

The sophomore was arrested in the early hours of March 1 after a Fayetteville police officer observed him slurring his words and swaying so badly he nearly fell several times outside the Dickson Street Theater. Petrino punished Mallett by making him take part in early morning workouts, and the quarterback said he has accepted responsibility for the incident.

"My teammates know I put myself in a bad situation, and they just know we're going to move forward from there," Mallett said March 24. "They didn't lose any respect for me because they know it was my fault and I took responsibility for it."

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