John L. Smith is still holding his stud running back out of full-contact drills as the season creeps ever closer. The head coach, as reported by Sports Illustrated, is allowing Knile Davis to get the first-team reps in practice and run through drills, but when it comes to scrimmage tempo, Davis is not included for the Razorbacks.
Everyone, including teammate and emerging star at wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, is excited to see Davis at full go:
"Whenever he has full contact, it's going to be trouble for the defense," senior receiver Cobi Hamilton said. "I'm very anxious. I think me and the whole world is ready to see what he's going to do, including the rest of this offense. With him getting back in this offense, it's going to be a real fun year."
If the Hogs are smart, Smith and staff will wait until that first game against Jacksonville State.
Knile Davis is a stud. He's the clear added element to help Arkansas' offense go to the next level. His injury is not one that needs to be "tested" a la Marcus Lattimore and the ACL. Rather, he suffered an accident. He broke his ankle because teammates couldn't "stay off legs" as every coach in the history of football preaches on nearly a daily basis.
There is no need to run the risk of another sloppy play sidelining the running back. Instead, let Davis go through "thud" tempo and get the reps he needs while avoiding the danger of guys rolling and diving on the ground.
After Tyler Wilson, Knile Davis is the most critical element to the Razorbacks offense. It is always better to be cautious than to risk another accident. If an accident is to happen, let it happen in the game, not at practice.
"Thud" tempo is enough contact for him to absorb the dings and bumps of football. Thud is, in short, football without tackling to the ground, and Davis is getting plenty of contact through thud. Keep it at thud, when the game goes live against Jacksonville State, take the reins off and let Davis run.