FOUR DOWNS - NOTES FROM PRESEASON CAMP
1. Wright Leaves Practice
Arkansas linebacker Alonzo Highsmith missed his second straight practice after injuring his hamstring during Saturday’s workout.
Another team captain — and first-team linebacker — joined him on the injured list Monday.
Senior Tenarius Wright left practice after suffering what appeared to be a concussion during a run drill during the early portion of Monday’s workout. Wright collided with running back Knile Davis during the drill, which defensive players were not tackling ball carriers to the ground.
“I didn’t even know he was hurt until after practice,” Davis said. “I saw he wasn’t in there. We’ll see. I don’t know what happened to him.”
Wright, who never went to the ground after the collision, was examined by the Arkansas training staff before being taken to a cart where he rode off the field. Arkansas coach John L. Smith wasn’t available for comment after practice, but said through a spokesperson Wright “took a hit” and the Razorbacks would continue to evaluate him.
It hasn’t been a good start for Arkansas’ linebacker corps. The Razorbacks entered the preseason with plenty of depth questions at the position outside of Wright and Highsmith, who worked off to the side with the strength staff Monday while his hamstring injury heals.
Arkansas turned to senior Terrell Williams and freshman Otha Peters to work with the first-team defense Monday. Another contributor, Braylon Mitchell, left the field for a few minutes as well after being dinged up. Mitchell later returned.
“Probably just a freak accident,” Davis said of Wright’s injury. “I didn’t hear any yelling so it probably wasn’t major. Hopefully it wasn’t.”
2. Practice Skirmish
Offensive lineman Mitch Smothers and defensive tackle Darius Philon ignited the first significant camp skirmish Monday night after locking up during team drills. Several other players — including Philon’s high school teammate JaMichael Winston and defensive tackle Jared Green — got involved in the tussle before it was broken up by Arkansas’ assistant coaches and the strength staff.
Smith then summoned the team to midfield and delivered a stern lecture regarding the number of players who jumped into the fray between Smothers and Philon. There weren’t any other incidents the rest of Monday’s workout, which was Arkansas’ first in full pads this preseason.
“That’s just football,” Petrino said. “That happens every once in awhile. It’s really no big deal. … That’s just a bunch of guys fired up flying around. Things happen.”
3. Thinking Of Childs
Tight end Chris Gragg said he was thinking of long-time friend Greg Childs, who tore the petallar tendons in both knees during a practice with the Minnesota Vikings last Saturday.
“He’s my brother,” Gragg said. “We grew up together. I’m just praying for him.”
Childs tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in Oct. 2010 and was never full speed during the 2011 season at Arkansas. He finally got back to normal last winter before being drafted by the Vikings in the fourth round last April. He had been making an impression on the Vikings, who also drafted Childs’ long-time friend Jarius Wright.
Gragg said he spoke with Childs before the receiver underwent surgery Monday afternoon.
“He told me that he’s going to try his best to get back,” Gragg said. “If he puts his mind to something he can come back. He came back from it once and was better than ever.”
4. Extra Points
So Tyler Wilson isn’t perfect. Petrino said the quarterback missed a couple of throws Monday. “I think sometimes we start thinking he’s going to hit 500 throws in a row,” Petrino said. “But he’s had a great camp so far.” … Freshman receiver D’Arthur Cowan was not on the practice field Monday for unknown reasons, while freshman cornerback Will Hines missed the last part of practice with an apparent leg injury. … Tight end Brett Weir didn’t practice for the second straight day after leaving Sunday’s workout with what appeared to be heat-related issues.