Barnett Returns, Johnson Next?

FAYETTEVILLE — One of Arkansas' running backs returned to practice Tuesday, and there's a chance that another tailback could be back sometime soon.

Senior Brandon Barnett returned after missing all but one day of spring practice, so he could be with his family following the death of his stepfather.

Barnett said he wasn't weighed down by emotions on his first day back at practice, adding that he simply had to get the "kinks out" and "just get back to rolling and get back into the groove of things."

"I've got my teammates to come in and pump me up a little bit and just let me know that they're there for me," Barnett said. "So all I can do is just keep on moving and just get better."

While Barnett took part in drills and answered questions from reporters, fellow tailback Broderick Green said the senior hasn't gotten over the emotions of the past few weeks just yet.

"He's still having a hard time, of course," Green said. "But we're helping him through it."

Meanwhile, Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said that there's a chance that sophomore Dennis Johnson could return to the backfield before the end of spring practice.

Johnson, who's the fastest player on the team, has been sidelined for the past few days after suffering an ankle injury in last Wednesday's scrimmage.

Johnson's ankle has swollen significantly over the past week, forcing him to miss practice and wear a walking boot for protection.

"We're hoping Dennis can get back later this week or early next week. That would be good," Petrino said. "It was good to get Brandon Barnett back out here today. He gave us some fresh legs running around."



Move On Down

Senior Mitch Petrus has been moved from the weakside offensive guard position to the strongside to help shore up Arkansas' pass protection.

Petrus said he was moved to the strongside position late last week, and since then, he has enjoyed blocking alongside offensive tackle DeMarcus Love. But there's still some confusion for Petrus on moving to the opposite side of the offensive line.

"The plays are kind of different for the strong guard, so I'm just having to (learn them)," Petrus said. "I know ‘em, but I have to think, ‘Oh, I'm not on the weakside anymore.'"



Injury Updates

Defensive tackle Zach Stadther, who missed much of last Saturday's scrimmage after injuring his neck, was back at practice Tuesday afternoon. He wore extra neck protection underneath his jersey.

Offensive guard Seth Oxner also took part in practice, though it was apparent from his noticeable limp that he hadn't gotten over the leg injury suffered in the scrimmage.

Tight end Chris Gragg, however, was absent from practice. The sophomore suffered a high ankle sprain in the scrimmage when he landed awkwardly after getting hit by two defenders.

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