Broderick Green had one promise on the weight issue: Don't figure the new tailback as a 248-pounder.
That's what Green was listed at, 248, on the roster that was handed to fans Thursday when Arkansas began fall football practices with what was a three-hour workout when one hour of newcomer work was added to the two hours with returnees.
"I'm dropping weight, that's what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm going to drop weight all camp. I want to play fast. I figure I can move a little better if I drop some of this. I want to play at 230 to 235. That's what I want to be for the season."
Then there's Michael Smith, the back who took most of the snaps last year at around 165 pounds. The 5-9 scatback was listed at 180 on the roster. He's definitely bigger than he was during last season. Is it a good weight for him?
"We'll see," Smith said. "Today doesn't tell you if it is or it isn't. You don't have pads on. I thought I ran pretty good today at this weight and I am heavier. That was the goal this summer, put on some good weight so I can stand in there on pass blocking. Whether I can play with it, you can't tell yet. When we add the pads, I'll know better. Today it was fine."
Then, there's quarterback Ryan Mallett. He's at 235 now, maybe 10 pounds lighter than he was in the spring. And, he's a lot lighter than the 265 that he carried when he arrived at Arkansas about 18 months ago.
"I'm quicker and can move around in the pocket better," Mallett said. "The bootlegs should be easier. I want to get out and move a little better. I think I can from what I could tell today."
There was one typo on the roster sheet. Freshman defensive back was listed at 6-foot-7. He's 6-2. But that wasn't a typo by Anthony Leon's name. He is 230 pounds.
"He's a big dude and he can move," senior Matt Harris said about Leon, the juco transfer playing behind him at free safety. "I don't know if he's 230, but he's big, that's for sure."
The key number with Leon is two, as in days he's been in the Ozarks.
"I'm trying to help him best I can pick up the playbook," Harris said. "He's got a lot to learn because we've got a big playbook. Right now it's going pretty fast for the new guys, but I think they'll pick it up. We are going to get them there."
Harris is at free safety with Elton Ford taking the first team snaps at strong safety. Ford played mostly free safety last year before broken bones in his neck ended his season and kept him out of contact work in the spring.
"Elton has added some pounds (to 215) and he's got the weight to move down into the box," Harris said. "That's fine with me. He hasn't missed a beat. He was moving good and he really knows our stuff. It was good to have him back out there. He's looked good all summer."
There were some notable absentees on the first day of practice. Knile Davis, freshman running back, missed because of the death of his father. The funeral will be Friday night. Davis indicated he would take a flight back from Texas on Saturday morning in time for the afternoon practice, the only workout scheduled on the day.
Offensive tackle Michael Aguirre and safety Chris Raggett were not at practice and neither was listed on the roster. Aguirre apparently is not going to continue football because of back problems. It is expected Aguirre will get a medical hardship and stay in school. Raggett worked with the second team in the spring, but decided not to return this fall.
The secondary and offensive line appear to be the positions most bolstered by newcomers. Bobby Petrino liked what he saw of the newcomers in the defensive backfield where there were four pass interceptions during the long practice.
Along with the return of Ford, the secondary got newcomers Rudell Crim and Leon, both from the juco ranks. Darius Winston, David Gordon, Jerry Mitchell and Ross Rasner were added in the freshman ranks.
"It was good to get out on the field," said Bobby Petrino, head coach. "We certainly didn't do everything right, but I liked our enthusiasm. We didn't have pads on so it's hard. Our biggest emphasis without pads is to work on our technique and our fundamentals.
Freshman and transfers hit the field at 3 p.m. and worked out for an hour before the veterans joined in and the entire squad practiced together for two more hours. Petrino gave the newcomers a break to catch their breath when the veterans arrived for their stretch.
"Our newcomers got fatigued quickly," Petrino said. "We gave them a lot of individual drills and they were not used to the pace that we work. They got sore pretty quick."
Overall, Petrino liked the way the practice moved.
"We've been preparing for this practice for a long, long time," said Petrino. "Our idea is the first couple of days we bring the freshmen out early and do the individual drills that we're going to do with the veterans so they've been introduced to it. When we start practice they repeat those same drills so they aren't far behind. The next three days after tomorrow we'll start everyone out to start and then keep our newcomers out afterwards and they'll repeat some of the group drills."
Among the newcomers were Petrino's two sons, Bobby and Nick. Nick transferred from Montana State-Northern. He's a walk-on quarterback. Bobby played wide receiver last year at Fayetteville High and was set to play at Air Force. He came home two days ago and asked to walk-on as a safety. Both are likely to redshirt.
The Hogs also added a walk-on punter candidate, Hoover, Ala., product Dillon Breeding. He'll challenge junior college signee Briton Forester. Both got reps in the punting drill on the practice field Thursday and displayed lively legs. Each had about 10 punts with no one holding a clear edge in either distance or hang time.
"They need to improve their getoff time, but they had good hang time," Petrino said. "Our snaps were good."
Among the other interesting battles, Seth Oxner got a lot of work with the first unit at weakside guard. Grant Cook and juco transfer Zhamal Thomas are also candidates there in what promises to be a competitive battle this fall.
Asked about the quarterback play after the first day, Petrino said it was "sloppy." Both quarterbacks said virtually the same thing. Mallett said it was exciting to be on the field, but play must improve from day one to day two.
"We started off ok," Mallett said."We've got a lot of improvement to make from day one to day two. It was exciting to be out here and everybody is ready to get it going. You've got to love that. It's comeptition.It makes you better on all levels. We love it."
On the interceptions, Mallett said, "Just mental errors. Can'tmake thsoe. That's what it was. Tomorrow have to come back, fix that mistake and come back out here and play ball.
"We got some speed. I am looking forward to see how they progress in fall camp.
"The secondary has improved a lot. We've got new guys in and old heads playing better. They know the system more. I'm glad to see that. I don't want to throw those. But if they're making plays that's good for our team."