Arkansas senior All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson was dressed out for practice Tuesday after missing the past six quarters of game action with a concussion, and he was “on fire,” according to offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.
Tyler Wilson practiced Tuesday for the second time since suffering a concussion Sept. 8.
“He looked great. I thought he looked great,” Petrino said. “I thought he was on fire. His arm was fresh and hot. He looked really good.”
Wilson, who suffered the concussion in the first half of the Louisiana-Monroe game Sept. 8, said Monday he would do everything in his power to play in Saturday's home game against Rutgers. He dressed out but did not play in the 52-0 loss to top-ranked Alabama last Saturday, but said he’s feeling much better this week.
Tuesday, Wilson did everything Petrino wanted him to do.
But we still don’t know if he will play Saturday when the Razorbacks (1-2) host Rutgers (3-0).
“I just take it day-by-day,” Petrino said when asked if Wilson had been given the medical clearance to play against Rutgers. “They let him practice today, and he looked great. And so, it was a good day. It was a great day out there at practice. He looked really good.
“We had a good day of practice. Everybody was good energy, good fire. And it’s kind of like a new beginning. We’ll start over and go get after it and move on from this point on and start winning.”
Breaking out new helmets
The Razorbacks had a new look Tuesday, breaking out their white alternate helmets for the first time.
Coach John L. Smith tweeted out this picture of Knile Davis in a white helmet before Tuesday's practice.
A UA spokesman said the team was simply breaking in the helmets, and that it was no indication that they would be worn against Rutgers.
But senior running back Knile Davis is under the impression the Hogs will wear them in Saturday’s game. And he said he liked the look.
“Yeah, I think we are going to wear them,” Davis said. “I think that’s why we’re breaking them out.”
Holmes moved to corner
True freshman Nate Holmes worked at cornerback Tuesday, a move Petrino said was made to add depth to the secondary.
“We just knew we don’t have enough depth over there,” Petrino said. “We need to get another guy over there that’s fast and athletic, and so we’ve got to do what’s best for the team. And so they took him, moved him over there.”
Petrino said Holmes was excited about it and just wanted to do what he could to play.
The Razorbacks are down one starter at cornerback. Sophomore Tevin Mitchel is out indefinitely after suffering a helmet-to-helmet hit in the ULM game, and then having gall bladder surgery soon after that.
When asked if Holmes’ move to corner was a permanent thing, Petrino said “as of right now it is, yeah.”
Calling on, calling out Knile
Through three games, Arkansas star running back Knile Davis is averaging 3.5 yards on his 54 carries.
Petrino said Knile hasn’t seemed to be physically limited in his return from a broken ankle that ended his 2011 season before it started.
No, it’s just time to play well, Petrino said, time “to go out and do it.”
“Talking’s over. It’s time to go do it,” Petrino said.
“He had a couple of runs (against Alabama) that were pretty good, but he needs to play better. He knows it. We know it. He needs to come out and play better.”
In Saturday’s loss to Alabama, Davis ran 20 times for 59 yards and had two fumbles that led to Crimson Tide scores.
Petrino said Davis needs to “will us to victory,” and he slammed his first on the podium while saying “Our best players, those are the guys that got to take the team and put them on their back and make a big play and win.”
“That’s their job. That’s what I do as a great player. I’ve got make plays and will my team to victory. And that’s what they all need to do.”
Davis agreed that he needed to play better, and when asked to evaluate his performance this season, said “just bad. Got to get better.”
“Yeah, I totally agree with him,” Davis said, referring to Petrino's comments. “I need to do something. Just need to lead this team to the promised land. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
What can he do better?
“Just do the little things right,” said Davis. "Don’t make mistakes. Just show the team in my demeanor. Don’t show any quit in my demeanor. That’s the main thing.”
Petrino said Rutgers does a good job with its defensive scheme, and when asked what he's seen, said that "they like to bring some extra overload blitzes and mix it in with Cover 2."
"They got a corner, a boundary corner, No. 11 (senior Logan Ryan), that’s a really good tackler.," Petrino said. "Good football player. They got a linebacker, No. 20 (senior Khaseem Greene), that’s a good football player. And they got a defensive tackle, 3-technique, No. 94 (senior Scott Vallone), those three guys are really good football players.
"They haven't given up many points. They’ve kept people from making big plays. They’ve been pretty good. But I think we’ve got a real good plan and it looked good in practice today. Guys were executing it. that’s the key. We’ve got to go out in a game and execute it."
Too many turnovers
The Hogs rank 119th out of 120 FBS teams in turnover margin (minus-2.67). That includes six lost fumbles to go with four interceptions.
“Real disappointing,” Petrino said of the 10 turnovers. “The bad thing is a lot of them have been uncaused. Have just, guys been falling to the ground and putting out their hands to break their fall and letting the ball go on quite a few of them. It’s just something that has to stop right now. No more. Can’t do it.”