Petrino raves about WR backup Javontee Herndon
FAYETTEVILLE - Brandon Mitchell got the most receiving yards and publicity with Cobi Hamilton injured early during the Razorbacks' 49-24 season-opening victory over Jacksonville State last Saturday, but it was Javontee Herndon filling Hamilton's position shoes, Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino stressed to the press Tuesday.
Senior Biletnikoff Award watch list candidate Hamilton practiced in pads Tuesday prepping for the Razorbacks' 6 p.m. Saturday ESPNU televised game against the ULM (Louisiana-Monroe) Warhawks in Little Rock but didn't play from the second series on after a neck injury vs. Jacksonville State.
Mitchell started with Hamilton and finished catching 4 passes for 122 yards.
Junior 2-year letterman reserve Herndon (4 catches 96 yards including a 63-yard touchdown) came in doing what Hamilton does from where Hamilton does.
"We made a decision about two weeks ago to put Herndon behind Cobi for exactly what happened," Petrino explained. "So much of our offense and so much in practice every day is that position and so much of the game plan is that position that if something ever happens to him, we had better not have a freshman backing him up. He has to do so much. Line up in so many different places. We made that decision and it paid off. He played really well."
Herndon had played the receiver position termed X in Paul Petrino terminology and got zigged to Z where Hamilton plays.
"They came to me and told me they thought I played faster at Z and would have the opportunity to get more balls," Herndon said Tuesday. "I took it and started working hard and it’s working good for me."
Meanwhile, Hamilton is raring to go to Little Rock where he caught 3 passes for 131 yards his last outing there when Arkansas beat Mississippi State in November.
"He is running around full speed and looks like he is ready to go," Petrino said. "Hopefully he will get a whole bunch of catches and is ready to light it up this weekend."
HOT AND GRINDING
Petrino admirably said both sides of the ball "were grinding" through their "second straight hot day."
Field conditions, particularly on the turf field practice field adjoining the grass one, had to well exceed 100 degrees in full pads.
Senior backup defensive end Colton Miles-Nash, limping out of last Saturday's game during the fourth quarter, practiced Tuesday in pads during the first four periods open to media.
NO MOSS GATHERING
Austin Moss, a former Razorback reserve linebacker now at ULM, will not play Saturday.
Moss has pneumonia, ULM Coach Todd Berry said Tuesday.
Moss lettered as an Arkansas freshman in 2009 but his playing time faded. He transferred to Navarro Junior College before transferring this year to ULM.
WON'T YOU COME HOME, MITCH BAILEY?
Mitchell Bailey, an ex-Razorbacks walk-on running back from Broken Bow, Okla., is a running back/fullback on scholarship at ULM.
Last season, his first active one at ULM after sitting out 2010 as a transfer, Bailey netted 212 rushing yards with a touchdown on 64 carries and caught 7 passes for 79 yards and once was named Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.
At Arkansas as a true freshman in 2008, Bailey lettered on special teams and caught a TD pass from Casey Dick during the 34-21 SEC loss at South Carolina. He redshirted in 2009.
HOGS ADVANCE IN AP
Arkansas advanced from 10th to eight in this week's Associated Press poll.
Meanwhile by demolishing Michigan, 41-14, reigning national champion Alabama advanced from second to first in the AP poll.
Arkansas and Alabama meet in the SEC opener for each at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 15 on CBS at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.