John L. Smith met with the media following Thursday's practice and is pleased with how the week of practice has gone for his Razorbacks.
It appears that junior running back Knile Davis could get some carries in Friday night's mock game at Razorback Stadium.
Arkansas will open the season on Sept. 1 against Jacksonville State and Smith likes his player's frame of mind as the season nears.
“It has been a good week,” Smith said. “The energy was better today.”
Smith was once again asked about running back Knile Davis getting hit and tackled to the ground on Friday night. Smith said he had decided on Davis not getting any contact until the season opener, but then said Davis vetoed that and Smith now anticipates Davis getting some carries.
“I don't know how many yet,” Smith said. “I guess it's a deal if he takes the first handoff and breaks three tackles and goes in and scores that's enough. That's what you would like to see. I think that is something we will just play by ear.”
Smith is expecting the scout team to improve as the season rolls along.
“All of these things of course relate to new guys acting as show guys and getting that organized and film watched there so they can imitate,” Smith said. “A lot of young guys and sometimes early in the year it's not as good as you would like offensively and defensively because the shows not as good as you would like. So that has to improve and will improve because we will start now that we're through the first week of practices we will spend more time with them on imitating the offense and defense. We've just been a short time deciding who those guys will be we try not to redshirt.”
Smith was asked which true freshmen he expects to play this season and he had a pretty long list of possibilities.
“I anticipate right now (running back) Nate Holmes probably to play,” Smith said. “This is not etched in stone by any means. I would anticipate using Nate. As I look at that crew, a possibility of (tight end Demetrius) Dean, at wide receiver possibility, pretty good possibility of (Keon) Hatcher, a (D'Arthur) Cowan a possibility over there and (Mekale) McKay a possibility over there. There is a possibility of Jonathan Williams.
“On the defensive side of the ball you definitely want there's three defensive ends that are real close. In (Brandon) Lewis, (Deatrich) Wise and (JaMichael) Winston. We're still deciding on those guys and we will probably use two of those guys. Even if we don't use them, what might work since we have so much depth there is they might travel and be there and travel if you need them if someone gets hurt. Still trying to salvage the year. It may come down to the middle of the year and somebody goes down and they have to go. That's a possibility as well. The other two guys who are probably going to have to play is both those linebackers in (A.J.) Turner and Otha Peters. We expect (cornerback Will) Hines to play as well. (Safety) Defonta (Lowe) before the year is out he will probably have to play. I would expect him to probably have to play.”
Smith, as Paul Haynes said Wednesday, said that Arkansas is working on some Jacksonville State stuff, but more than that they are trying to perfect what they are doing.
“We're doing our own stuff along with Jacksonville State,” Smith said. “From here on out it's going to be all of them. A lot of times in going against ourselves we go get better on both sides of the ball in our stuff. We do that a lot. It's 75 percent Jacksonville State, but the other 25 percent is us.”
Arkansas will play a mock game on Friday night and Smith said it would be more than a simple walk through.
“It should be live,” Smith said. “Even we though we will card it and script it we want the two's and three's going live. They're tackling those guys. We want that No. 2 offense going live. We want it as close to a game as we can make it. In the kicking game as well. We will script all of that and try to play a game. I would anticipate us getting 40 plays offensively and 40 plays defensively max. Which is going to be similar to a game.”
“Tank has been out practicing,” Smith said. “Highsmith has been out practicing. Bennett has been out practicing. So they've all been going and trying to take mental reps and get back in the speed of it. It's good to have those guys back out there this week, it really was.”
Smith said he was pleased to have placed cornerback Kaelon Kelleybrew and defensive lineman Jared Green on scholarship. He said that is something that should impress the younger players and get them to work harder.
“It shows what football is all about,” Smith said. “If you have a big heart you can play and you work at it hard enough you will play. They proved it to us that they have the effort, heart and desire. It's an example you can explain to other kids that this kid has worked four years to get on the field and you have been here for a year and you haven't worked yet and you're expecting to get on the field. Maybe if you do it right for four years maybe we will let you play.”