Hogs Have More ‘Studs' To Feed

FAYETTEVILLE — As complex as Bobby Petrino's offense is, there's one simple philosophy that everything else is based on: "Feed the studs."

That's Petrino's way of saying that he must get the football to his top offensive playmakers. If he feeds the studs, then good things often happen.

And when Arkansas' players report today for the start of preseason camp, there will be significantly more "studs" hanging around the locker room than in Petrino's first year with the Razorbacks.

There's quarterback Ryan Mallett, tight end D.J. Williams and so many wide receivers and running backs that Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino could have a difficult time feeding everyone when the Hogs open practice at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Practice is open to the public.

"You try to feed the studs throughout practice as much as you do once the game comes," Paul Petrino said last week. "And then again that goes back to the more they show us on tape of what they can do well, then that gives you a bigger menu of how you're going to feed them."

The Petrino brothers, however, weren't working with such a large menu last year.

The early departures of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones to the NFL forced Michael Smith to take over as Arkansas' featured back despite being undersized for the Southeastern Conference.

And though he rushed for 1,072 yards and eight touchdowns as the starter, Smith's body wore down toward the end of last season because of a lack of depth behind him in the backfield.

Meanwhile, the Razorbacks had the challenge last August of getting a handful of freshman wide receivers quickly caught up on Petrino's pass-happy offense and then accustomed to the demands of college football.

But with wide receivers Joe Adams and Jarius Wright poised to have bigger impacts in their second year and at least six tailbacks vying for playing time behind Smith, Arkansas should have no shortage of offensive playmakers.

"We should be a lot better this year with the experience there," said Bobby Petrino, who suffered through his first losing season as a head coach when Arkansas finished 5-7 in 2008.

"(The players) have a much better understanding of what we want and expect from them as far as how we're going to practice, how we're going to prepare (and) what the schemes are that we use."

Mallett's addition should help as well.

The sophomore was forced to sit out last year because of his transfer from Michigan, leaving Petrino with no choice but to go into the season with Casey Dick as his starting quarterback.

But Mallett better fits Petrino's offensive system. He has a strong arm that allows him to throw the deep ball, rifle passes into tight coverage and spread the ball around.

"I expect (Mallett) to be on his game," Arkansas quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee said. "Now, he hasn't played in a game in a year and a half, but he's done a lot of practicing and we're going to yell at him and knock the rust off of him."

Then, it's all about him feeding the studs.

Who Are The Studs?

Arkansas' offensive coaches repeatedly talk about "feeding the studs," which is their way of saying that they need to get the football to their top playmakers.

Here is a look at some of the Razorbacks' studs for the upcoming season:

Name Pos. Last season

Joe Adams WR Had 31 catches, 377 yards as a freshman.

Broderick Green RB Rushed for 168 yards at USC.

Lucas Miller WR Gained 490 yards before knee injury.

Michael Smith RB Averaged 107.2 yards per game.

D.J. Williams TE Led team with 61 catches, 723 yards.

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