Photo by Ross Brown: Arkansas running back Dennis Johnson.
FAYETTEVILLE — Going into Arkansas’ spring scrimmage, Arkansas’ coaching staff felt like it had a strong, deep and versatile stable of running backs, and nothing happened on the field that should change that feeling.
Each of the Hogs top four running backs had their moments in the contest that saw the White team score the game’s final 17 points to post a 31-21 victory.
Ronnie Wingo Jr. led in carries with 18 and total yards with 88, but Knile Davis, Broderick Green and Dennis Johnson each average more yards per carry than Wingo’s solid 4.9 average. Davis carried 6 times for 49 yards for an 8.2 ypc. average, while Green had 8 carries for 53 yards for a 6.6 ypc. average and Dennis Johnson had 6 carries for 38 yards for a 6.3 ypc average.
The only truly disappointing aspect of the backs play was the fumbles by Wingo and Davis. Davis actually suffered a broken collar bone on his fumble. He had surgery Sunday. It is expected to take about month for him to recover.
Wingo reeled off the longest run with a 37 yard scamper. He hit the holes hard and seems to have gotten over his habit of trying to dance around in the backfield that tripped him up at times as a freshman. He also caught two passes for 28 yards, one that went for a 31-yard touchdown.
Green seemed to pick where he left off last season. He is a punishing runner that doesn’t mind pounding defenses with is 5-, 245-pound frame.
Johnson is as nimble and tough as ever. He seems to have the best vision and cut-back ability of the group, and he also has nifty hands. He caught two passes for 42 yards with one going for a 38-yard gain.
Like Johnson, Davis has a nose for the hole and has a good combination of speed and strength. His only issue is his proclivity to be injured. This is the second spring that he has been hurt. But Davis did go through all of the 2009 season without being hurt.
The only real issue is that while all four backs had productive springs, none of them truly separated themselves from the pack from my point of view. Johnson did show a great amount of leadership and earned compliments from the coaching staff for doing so. But there is no clear No. 1 from my view, though any of the four would seem to be an improvement over last season when injuries kept Michael Smith from being all he could be as a senior.
Wingo and Davis also had fumbles.