Hogs report: Highsmith debuts at first-team weakside linebacker
FAYETTEVILLE - Junior college transfer weakside linebacker Alonzo Highsmith debuted with the first team Thursday night in Arkansas' first varsity practice of the preseason.
The Razorbacks worked their freshmen and young reserves Thursday afternoon. The varsity and some newcomers like Highsmith and true freshmen offensive linemen Brey Cook, Mitch Smothers and Marcus Danenhauer drilled Thursday night.
Asked about advancing Highsmith in his first practice ahead of veterans Bret Harris and Terrell Williams closing spring contesting for weakside linebacker, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said, "We threw him in there based on his ability and hard work and knowledge. He gives us the best chance, and we didn't feel we wanted to hold him back. The other guys had a great opportunity to compete in the spring and nobody really declared himself the starrter so we are ging to give him a chance."
UA coach Bobby Petrino
As a December graduate from Springdale Har-Ber, Cook often practiced first-team last spring but began Thursday night second team behind senior Grant Freeman and January enrollee/junior college transfer Jason Peacock.
Petrino said "there is no question defense is way ahead of the offense" mainly because the more experienced defense "knows what it is doing."
Petrino praised the running backs but said the receivers and quarterbacks combined for too many dropped passes.
He said senior receiver Greg Childs did not practice like he was full-speed after recovering from the injury that ended his 2010 season against Vanderbilt.