Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Poking, prodding begin at NFL combine
Arkansas running back Knile Davis carries the ball as Kentucky defensive lineman Mike Douglas, right, closes in to make the tackle during the second quarter of play Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
LITTLE ROCK There are several notable story lines with more than 300 football players assembled at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Locally there will be a lot of curiosity about former Arkansas running back Knile Davis, who has been injured five times dating back to high school and must convince scouts that he can be durable in the NFL. More than likely he will wow them when he bench presses 225 pounds 25 to 30 times and then goes out and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.
Davis is a tremendous athlete who obviously tried to play much of last season injured.
He and Tyler Wilson will get the benefit of a doubt from most after Arkansas went 4-8 last season, but there has never been a Razorbacks team that faced so much controversy for so long.
Also in their favor is that there is no indication of character issues.
No player will be more under the microscope than Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, and not just because of his physical skills. Te’o was the subject of a love story hoax that went viral after it was discovered that his dead girlfriend didn’t exist.
If he does well on the Wonderlic test - a written exam consisting of 50 questions that must be answered in 12 minutes, and a 20 is considered average intelligence - then he’ll only have to worry about the physical tests. He didn’t play well against Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game, but a lot of that was because the Tide managed to exploit his tendency to leave his feet when attempting to make a tackle, which resulted in missed tackles.
Another guy who needs to do well on the Wonderlic is Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu, the former LSU defensive back who was kicked off the team last year. It would behoove him greatly to pass the drug test and run his fastest 40-yard dash ever.
Georgia’s Alec Ogletree needs to have a great interview. There is no doubt the linebacker is incredibly talented, but he’ll need to explain missing four games because of a failed drug test, a recent DUI and the fact that he stole a motorcycle helmet as a freshman.
There are a couple of other former SEC players who could stand out.
Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter is 6-4 and has run the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. Hunter is a freak of an athlete, having long jumped 26 feet and having cleared 7 feet, 3 inches in the high jump.
Jesse Williams, a defensive tackle at Alabama, was touted as the nation’s strongest college football player after benching more than 600 pounds several times. He also has really good speed for a 325-pounder.
The NFL Scouting Combine was the idea of Tex Schramm, the former Dallas Cowboys president and general manager, and was started in 1982. It consists of eight physical tests, interviews, physical measurements, a drug screening, an injury evaluation, a Cybex test (a test of joint movement) and the Wonderlic.
Please don’t keep those cards, letters and e-mails coming.
It didn’t take long for Missouri fans to become full fledged SEC basketball experts.
According to them, last Saturday’s game with the Arkansas Razorbacks was the worst officiated game in history.
Granted, there was a mysterious no-call at the end of the game when Mizzou’s Phil Pressey and Arkansas’ Coty Clarke collided and Pressey lost the ball.
Was it a foul or a charge? Apparently, it was neither.
The Tigers also shot 31 free throws to Arkansas’ 24. It does seem unusual for a visitor to shoot more free throws than a home team, but the Razorbacks are so aggressive on defense they usually foul more. In this case, each team was called for 25 fouls.
Sports, Pages 17 on 02/22/2013