Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
Wise back in the fold for opener
Arkansas defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. pressures Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. returned to practice last week and is now cleared to play in the season-opener against Auburn on Saturday, Coach Bret Bielema said at his Monday news conference.
#NeverYield and follow @wholehogsports on Twitter now for breaking news and score updates.
Wise, a sophomore who was projected to start opposite senior Trey Flowers, had suffered a bruised knee early in the second week of camp and Bielema was unsure if he'd be rehabilitated in time for the opener. His return gives a boost to the defensive end rotation, where fellow sophomores JaMichael Winston and Brandon Lewis have vied for the starting job.
Wise and Winston were listed as co-starters on Arkansas' initial depth chart Monday.
"I think Mike [Winston] took this as a chance ... to prove [his] worth," Bielema said. "He's practiced extremely hard. Very conscientious, very detailed."
While Winston has looked good in practice, Bielema said it's "huge" to have Wise back.
"Deatrich is a very engaging player," he said. "I think he brings a little spice, a little energy. He's a very good pass rusher.
"He's a big body as far as just looking right and looking the part. He fits all the right billing."
Lewis, who has been limited in fall workouts while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, is also ready to play.
A reporter asked Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema if he thought the Razorbacks would take an "enough is enough" approach in regard to quarterback Brandon Allen's vehicle fire in the early hours of Monday and come out feisty in today's practice.
"My guess is tomorrow's practice will be very, very spirited, very, very high energy," Bielema said. "I think B.A. is a very respected player. You saw that in the way the team captains were voted upon and obviously the result of that. Not just on the offensive side of the ball. He won a lot of crossover votes from the defensive side as well."
Monday's fire is being investigated as a possible arson.
Allen's truck was pelted with eggs after an Arkansas loss last season.
Cornerback Tevin Mitchel, who missed practices with a hamstring injury after coming off shoulder surgery last spring, is expected to play Saturday at Auburn, but Coach Bret Bielema said he won't start.
Mitchel is listed behind starter Carroll Washington as a second-teamer with D.J. Dean. He might work into special teams play and certain sub packages against the Tigers.
Sophomore guard Denver Kirkland has recovered from the headaches he was suffering last week.
"I'll tell you what he didn't miss is, he didn't miss any work," Bielema said. "He got back in full swing on Friday in the mock game and looked great last night."
Bret Bielema projected he would play "more freshmen than I've ever probably played before" this season.
The list of true freshmen he expects to have a reasonable shot at playing this season includes receivers Jared Cornelius, Kendrick Edwards and Jojo Robinson; offensive linemen Frank Ragnow and Brian Wallace; defensive linemen Bijhon Jackson and Anthony Brown; linebackers Dwayne Eugene, Khalia Hackett and Randy Ramsey; cornerbacks Henre Toliver, Santo Ramirez and Cornelius Floyd; and safety Josh Liddell.
"All those guys might play at their respective positions," Bielema said. "But more importantly, play on special teams and in the reserve packages."
Guard Sebastian Tretola is about 40 pounds heavier than his listed depth chart weight of 315.
"I imagine it was eighth grade," Bret Bielema said of the last time 315 was an accurate weight for the junior transfer.
Tretola, 6-5, said he weighed 370 when he reported in early August. Bielema said Tretola is now about 355 pounds, but has practiced well enough to play a key role on the offensive line.
Bielema said Tretola is "very light on his feet" and is playing as well as starting guards Denver Kirkland and Luke Charpentier.
"Sebastian has really opened our eyes," said Bielema, who added that Tretola's ability to grasp the offense is well ahead of what he expected. "He's playing exceptional football."
Henson wins job
Senior John Henson beat out freshman Cole Hedlund to win the place-kicking job. Henson had been the backup to Zach Hocker throughout his career, though he kicked field goals of 25 and 17 yards against LSU in 2012.
Bret Bielema said Henson earned the starting job with a strong showing in fall camp, but that Hedlund "is right there knocking on the door."
Senior punter Sam Irwin-Hill will handle kickoffs.
Transfer lineman Cameron Jefferson opened camp at left guard, but the senior has now moved to left tackle behind starter Dan Skipper.
Bret Bielema said Jefferson looked so good as a pulling guard, the coaches decided to move him to tackle to help with depth there.
Jefferson played guard and tackle at UNLV, where he started 33 games. Austin Beck moved from tackle to guard to take Jefferson's spot on the inside.
Arkansas listed two starting tight ends spots on its depth chart without a fullback, but Bret Bielema said there will be formations with a fullback. Junior Kody Walker and senior Patrick Arinze are the top fullbacks, and some of the tight ends could pick up lead blocker type roles.
Sports on 08/26/2014