After a fantastic start to his season, University of Arkansas wideout Jarius Wright just brushed off the attempt at humor by Razorback head coach Bobby Petrino.
"Sometimes as a young freshman, your lower body isn't quite as developed and you stumble and you get knocked off," Petrino said Tuesday. "That is just attributed to not being in the weight room enough. He is a guy in high school that played basketball, played baseball and played football. I am not sure he even knew where the weight room was."
Wright (5-10, 180, 4.4), who had 6 catches for a career-high 139 yards in Saturday's 48-10 season-opening win over Missouri State, assured reporters Tuesday after practice he knew where the Warren weight room was located.
He just didn't know how important it was to him becoming an all-around player until he got on the college level.
"After last season I realized that I can't play in the SEC like this," Wright said. "I think they (the coaches) realized that, too, and we went in the weight room and they worked me hard, I worked myself hard and it all paid off. I have gotten a lot stronger and it has just really helped and is really going to help me stay injury free and help me break a couple of tackles and get some extra yardage."
Petrino agrees that is certainly part of the improvement.
"I think he understands – first of all – what it takes as far as practice and preparing for the game and then going out and executing in the game," Petrino said. "That was part of the growing up last year as a true freshman. He is much stronger and more physical this year, which helps him stay on balance when he is running his route and someone bump s him or his cuts. He comes out of his cuts and he is still balanced."
Wright had 19 catches for 348 yards and 2 TDs last season after having a great fall camp only to get off to a slow start.
He feels like he is primed for a huge breakout season.
"I really feel that way," Wright said. "I am glad I got off to that good start and I am really confident in the rest of the year is going to be going. I am confident with the team, very confident with our receiver play and I really feel it is going to make a difference this year."
Even with injuries to London Crawford and Lucas Miller, Wright knows the receiving corp is still loaded.
"I may not lead in receiving every game, but I am going to try my best to," Wright said. "I feel that our receiving corp is way better this year and if I don't do it somebody else will. If I am out there being a decoy and helping somebody else get open, as long as we get the win that is fine."
He also knows that he has two very accurate quarterbacks in Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson – who combined to throw for a school-record 447 yards - to get him the ball in the right place at the right time.
That was not always the case last season.
"It's not downgrading on any other quarterbacks, the film shows it," Wright said. "Mallett and Tyler did a real good job of getting the ball out to the receivers and putting it on the money. We broke a record. That can only speak for itself."
One thing that Wright and the other wideouts did was getting extra yards after the catch on Saturday night.
"I think the receivers were up around 150-something yards after catch, which is really good," Petrino said. "The running backs weren't at 100 (after contact), which is where they need to be.
"We always have a contest each week and the receivers won," Petrino added. "We need to get after the running backs to get more yards after contact."
Mallett talked Tuesday about how much he loves having a plethora of talented wide receivers to throw the ball, too.
"We have got guys who go out there and make plays," Mallett said. "It is a lot of fun. It is a lot of fun playing in this offense when you have got guys that can catch the ball and go score at any time in the game."
With Mallett completing his first nine passes of the game, it also was evident how he and the receivers have gotten used to each other with him easing off on some passes and their hands getting used to bullets.
"It is just a mutual thing," Mallett said. "I think we are getting used to each other more and throughout the season we will keep doing that and get better with our timing and hopefully put up numbers like we did Saturday night."
Getting Wright In The Weight Room
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