Delivering the Punishment

Arkansas sophomore tailback Dennis Johnson (5-9, 205) was a record-setter in the return game last season, but plans to add to that by being more of a threat in both the running and passing games this fall.

University of Arkansas sophomore tailback Dennis Johnson has no intention of breaking the school's kickoff return yardage mark again this year.

To him, that's a good thing.

"I don't think I will break that record again because last year I was getting a lot of kickoff returns," Johnson said, "This year I don't think our defense is going to get scored on as much."

Johnson (5-9, 205), who had 41 kickoff returns for 905 yards last season, is very confident that he will go a great job with the ones that he does return.

"I only had one touchdown last year, but this year I might have 12," said Johnson, who had 127 of his 184 yards rushing in the season's final game – the win over LSU.

Johnson, whose team will return to practice on Tuesday afternoon after having Monday off, is certainly going to get a ton of carries behind starter Michael Smith (5-9, 180), a preseason All-SEC pick.

Johnson has seemingly eased into the second-team spot in a deep running back corp, but refuses to describe himself as that.

"I feel like it is a rotation," Johnson said. "I don't feel that nobody has the number two spot right now. It is just a rotation that we are in. We are all going to rotate, we are going to do what we need to do. We are a team, a running back corp."

The group certainly all showed their talent in last Saturday's extended scrimmage.

Smith 6 carries, 74 yards), Ronnie Wingo (19 carries for 80 yards), Johnson (9 carries, 74 yards), Knile Davis (12 carries, 45 yards) and De'Anthony Curtis (6 carries, 38 yards) all got carries in the event.

Johnson also shined catching passes out of the backfield with 3 receptions for 53 yards and a score.

"We said we were going to come out and make big plays today and that is what we did," Johnson said. "…I feel all of our running backs, even the threes went in and performed. I feel that overall as a running back corp we did good."

Missing the scrimmage were USC transfer Broderick Green and injured senior Brandon Barnett.

The number of talented tailbacks in camp has led to some great competition according to Johnson.

"The feeling is that if you are not out there, when you do get in that you have to go in and perform because you have a lot of running backs that are in front of you that are running the ball good," Johnson said. "So you have to go in and perform every chance you get."

It's become very apparent that Wingo (6-3, 218) will play this season and join with USC transfer Broderick Green (6-2, 248) in giving the Razorbacks two big backs behind the smallish Smith and Johnson.

"He hasn't slowly progressed at all, he has quickly progressed," Johnson said. "Ronnie is a good running back. He has come in and showed us that he is tough, physical and that he is a big, big, big back. He is ready to run the ball right now."

On more than one of his carries, Johnson was the one delivering the shot instead of taking it when he was running the ball.

"It is much more fun than taking it, I can tell you that," Johnson said. "If you deliver a lick, than the coaches get happy. They want you to deliver the lick and tell you that all the time. I love delivering licks. I don't like taking them."





Dennis Johnson


Hawgs Daily Top Stories