A Season of Promise
The 2012 football season is fast approaching, and the team is busy with preparations. Between additions and subtractions to the roster, newly appointed Coach John. L. Smith is overseeing a myriad of adjustments.
Some problems on the field have been addressed, while others have not, Smith said.
One problem off the field, however, is the legal proceedings of receivers Marquel Wade and Maudrecus Humphrey and tight end Andrew Peterson.
“I’d like to give every kid the opportunity to correct a problem,” Smith said. “We’ve allowed them the chance to do that, and as for each individual it will be solved one way or another.”
The three were arrested and charged with burglarizing dorm rooms in mid-May of this year, and their court date will take place on August 27. Smith said that as far as the team goes, the problem would be resolved before camp.
“A combination of the legal system and what they’re doing to work back to the team is what we’re working around now,” he said.
Legal recourse aside, Smith is looking forward to camp and the subsequent season.
“Camp is right around the corner, on August 2,” Smith said. “The players are fired up, and if they’re fired up, we’re fired up. The energy they’ve been displaying is infectious, so we’re really looking forward to the season.”
Arkansas has ten players on the All-SEC preseason team, with several others on award watch lists. Included in the latter group are quarterback Tyler Wilson, linebacker Alonzo Highsmith, guard Alvin Bailey and receiver Cobi Hamilton.
The Razorbacks are about team awards, Smith said.
“We met the other day to talk about the awards,” he said. “If the team gets awards, the individual things are icing on the cake. The more you give to the team, the more you’ll get as an individual.”
“We’ve got vets who come to me and tell me the young guys can fly,” Smith said. “They have a great work ethic for rookies, and they’re embracing the idea of the team. They’ve not been delinquent as far as classes go, they’re positive, and they’re a great-looking crew from a coaching standpoint.”
Wide Receivers Coach Kris Cinkovich shares Smith’s positive outlook on the upcoming season.
“We’ve got talent coming in,” he said. “Some of these freshmen, they might need to take a starting job, or be in the backup line. We’ve got fluidness at the receiver position, and a good group of young guys ready to play.”
“With Tyler Wilson directing it, and Paul Petrino calling it, it will still be an excellent attack regardless of who we lost from last year,” Cinkovich said.
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” he said. “It may not be as wide receiver driven, but players like Cobi Hamilton, Knile Davis, and Chris Gragg, they’re all difference makers who will get their hands on the ball a lot.”
Backup quarterback Brandon Mitchell agrees with the diversity Cinkovich sees in the offense.
“He’s been training at the wide receiver position also,” Cinkovich said. “He’s a winner, and guys like that you like on the field.”
Arkansas will open its season against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on September 1 at Reynolds Stadium. After a short trip down to Little Rock the following week to take on the University of Louisiana Monroe Warhawks, the team will return to Fayetteville to face off against SEC West rival Alabama.
The regular season will come to a close against LSU in one of the most anticipated games of the year, on Friday, November 23.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Smith said. “I’m excited.”