After the first series during the spring scrimmage, Arkansas Razorbacks RB Knile Davis was carted off the field. Davis suffered a season-ending ankle injury. This follows a sophomore season in which he led all SEC running backs in rushing, but Arkansas fans should not worry. Following are several reasons why.
Greg Childs comes back healthy this year from a knee injury. Childs was leading the team in receptions when he suffered the injury during the 2010 season. Childs is quick off the line and can rack up the yards after catch, making him a big-play weapon. With the healthy Childs, QB Tyler Wilson will have a handful of receivers to throw to, such as Cobi Hamilton, Jarius Wright, and Joe Adams.
The Hogs have a more than capable replacement in Ronnie Wingo. Wingo is a threat out of the backfield whether he is taking the handoff or catching a short screen pass. Wingo carried the ball 41 times last year for 246 yards and only one touchdown, but this year he is coming in as a physical runner looking to prove something. He also 21 receptions for 285 yards and four scores for the Hogs in 2010.
If that's not enough, they also have Dennis Johnson coming back from a freak bowl injury that he suffered early in the 2010 season. Johnson has two 100-yard games to his credit: a 2008 matchup against Florida and 2009 against LSU. The Hogs have four guys they can choose from to cover for the loss of Davis in Wingo, Johnson, and freshmen Kelvin Fisher Jr. and Kody Walker.
Tyler Wilson proved last year that anyone can step into a situation and produce. Other than a couple mistakes late in the game, Wilson came into a high pressure situation and almost came through for the Hogs last year at Auburn.
Wilson practiced all spring with with the first team offense for Ryan Mallett who was out after foot surgery. The move made Wilson more comfortable with running the offense when it was his turn to come in. If Wilson taught us anything last year, it's that he has the ability to step up.
The Hogs start their season with a non-conference schedule. They have Missouri State, New Mexico (in Little Rock), and Troy. This should give the Hogs a chance to work out the bugs as they host both Missouri State and Troy in Fayetteville before going on the road to open conference play at Alabama.
Some in the college football world see Bobby Petrino as an offensive genius. He has a quarterback that can run his offense, and has had to deal with an injury to a starting running back before.
In the '06-'07 season—when Petrino was coaching at Louisville—his star running back, Michael Bush, went down in the first game with a broken right tibia against rival Kentucky. Petrino led the Cardinals to an Orange Bowl win against Wake Forest that year.
The Hogs defense has been the area of concern the last few years. So far this spring the defense has shown great promise. With the return of seven starters on defense and the return of three all-conference players in DE Jake Bequette, MLB Jerry Franklin, and S Tramain Thomas, the Hogs have a proven leader on each level of the D.
Though the Razorback defense only had 11 interceptions in 2010, they only allowed 13 touchdowns through the air.