FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - One of the biggest question marks in the preseason for Arkansas has been in the backfield. Who is going to help replace the departed Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins.
Saturday's scrimmage gave a pretty good indication of who the next guy up could be.
Freshman Devwah Whaley impressed as the Razorbacks held their first scrimmage of the fall as he rushed for more than 90 yards on 14 carries that included an impressive 11-yard touchdown run in which he shed a host of tacklers.
"He’s looked good all camp," Bret Bielema said of Whaley. "He’s made some nice reads, some nice cuts but today you saw that gear that I saw in high school film and that I’ve seen him play with. He definitely showed a burst today that hadn’t been seen yet in practice. I think he turned some guys heads."
Whaley's role was likely increased as fellow freshman T.J. Hammonds went down with an injury during warmups and senior Kody Walker re-aggravated a foot injury early in the scrimmage. Bielema said that neither injury is expected to be serious.
What can't be overlooked in the scrimmage was sophomore Rawleigh Williams III. Saturday marked the first time the running back had been tackled since he went down against Auburn with a neck injury that resulted in his season ending. Williams went through spring drills but did not take contact. Seeing Williams back on the field, and getting up from a tackle, was something Bielema has been waiting for.
"I’m not going to deny that I wasn’t anticipating today a little bit. I think he was," Bielema said. "I called his pops. I wanted to see if he was sharing anything with them if he had any fears or concerns but Rawleigh Sr. said ‘coach just let him go. He’s ready’. I was like ok. It was neat today. I really liked that goal line play. He kind of had to muscle it in there a little bit and I took a collective gasp as well to see him come up."