Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson practiced Tuesday.
Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said he was "on fire." Teammates said Wilson was sharp. Coach John L. Smith said Wilson brought a "great spark" to the team.
While signs point to Wilson's return for Saturday's game against Rutgers, Smith said on the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference the senior still hasn't been cleared to play. He and the Razorbacks remains hopeful, though, as they try to snap a two-game skid.
"Tyler Wilson has been out there. We have at least been preparing like Tyler is going to be here," Smith said. "We still have not gotten clearance, of course, so we’re waiting and hoping and have our fingers crossed that he’ll be ready to go on Saturday and will get cleared. At least we’re optimistic that may happen. So hopefully that will the case."
Smith said Wilson was scheduled for concussion tests Wednesday and they're "happening daily."
Wilson's status was one of several topics covered by Smith on Wednesday. A few others:
• Smith on if Arkansas' biggest challenge is physical or mental this week — "Well, I believe a little bit of both, just because of the fact that mentally we’re down, we’re hurting. We’ve been working our tail off at fighting back and making sure that we stay positive and taking the field with an attitude that we have to get better, we’re going to get better. But when you have bodies out of there, it creates a little bit of a physical aspect as well, that you have to come up with some guys to overcome that ... It’s a little bit of a problem on both sides of that. But, again, mentally we just have to correct that. The physical part, we’ll plug some people in and they’ll continue to work there. They’ll go to the field, they’ll practice hard, they’ll get better. The mental aspect, as coaches we’re doing everything that we can, and I know our leaders are to kick each other in the tail and to go to the field and work hard. Because yesterday as a good, good day for us really. It worked out pretty good, and I attribute a lot of that to the spark that Tyler brought to field and helped out with. So we’re working hard at overcoming both of those aspects of the game."
• Smith on RB Knile Davis' struggles — "It’s not all Knile, by any means. ... I think this, I think it takes a little bit time, and has done, and always kind of is the case for a guy coming off an injury. Is that it’s not going to happen right away, and particularly going through fall ball, and making sure that we didn’t hit him, it’s going to take a few weeks of .. And I saw this somewhat in him last week is the fact that, I think he’s starting to get confidence in the fact that not only can I take a hit, I can deliver a hit. And he’s starting to deliver some blows and being the Knile that you saw a couple of years back. I think it’s a combination without a doubt. I think he’s getting better each week and will, but again, I think it’s a lot to do with, we’ve got to do a better job of opening some holes and getting him a lttle bit of space as well."
• Smith on how Arkansas' front seven has played — "In our down guys, I see improvement, and I saw a bunch of improvement last week, in fact. The more practice we’re putting in against one another on the field has improved us, I think, as far as our gap controls, our pad level. Things like that, that take place on those offensive and defensive fronts. But again, you take a look at all of it, I think we need better play out of our linebackers, and more consistent play as well. I think our front gradually is getting better, but I think our linebackers are a little bit inconsistent, because again, you’ve got a Peters that has taken a lot of reps in there as is a Turner, who are both freshmen. And freshmen, as you know, have a lot of growing to do to be able to play in this league right off the bat. So you’re going to take a lump to two ... That’s where i see that the improvement has to be made. I think we’re making strides on the D-line."
• Smith on if he agreed with Wilson and saw players give up last Saturday — "You know, again, no. I didn’t. But again, I don’t go through everything that’s going on on the sideline as well. But again, that guy is showing a passion for the game. So when he gets up and says things like that, he’s just speaking from his heart, his passion for the game and wanting to do everything that he can do to lead these guys. Certainly we’re going to all be accountable for our actions and I think he’s saying nothing more than that. Is that, look in the mirror, and everybody be accountable for what took place today, and let’s go to the field and get better."
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau