No Surprises With Hogs' Depth Chart

Dennis Johnson

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has a quarterback controversy — at least on paper — and several offensive line spots up for grabs.

Petrino released his pre-spring practice depth chart on Thursday, and as expected, sophomore Ryan Mallett and redshirt freshman Tyler Wilson are sharing first-team quarterback duties.

Mallett is considered the favorite to be Arkansas' starter in the fall, but in order for him to secure the job, he must beat out Wilson and redshirt freshman Jim Youngblood. Youngblood is listed as the third quarterback on the depth chart.

Petrino wasn't available Thursday for comment, but he said in January that the quarterback race would open.

"It's going to be a good competition," Petrino said. "They'll separate themselves."

Arkansas' depth chart doesn't have any big surprises, but several starting jobs could be resolved over the next few weeks. The Razorbacks open spring practice on Tuesday and wrap it up with the Red-White Game on April 18.

Junior Wade Grayson is listed as the first-team center, giving him the chance to take over the position held over the past three years by Rimington Trophy winner Jonathan Luigs.

Junior Clay Bemberg is penciled in as Grayson's backup, though sophomore Seth Oxner is expected to also compete to be Arkansas' starting center.

Senior Mitch Petrus, who was ineligible last season because of academic issues, is again listed as the first-team left offensive guard.

With 1,000-yard rusher Michael Smith expected to miss the spring as he recovers from hamstring surgery, sophomore Dennis Johnson is penciled in as the first-team running back ahead of senior Brandon Barnett. Sophomore De'Anthony Curtis and freshman Knile Davis are also expected to get work in the spring.

On defense, Arkansas' depth chart looks much like it did a year ago when the Razorbacks finished 5-7 and missed out on a bowl game. There are eight returning starters, including all four defensive linemen and all three linebackers.

However, backup linebacker Ryan Powers was left off the depth chart. He was arrested March 11 for shoplifting after Fayetteville police say he tried stealing sleep medication and other small items from a local Walmart store.

Petrino hasn't said how he plans to discipline Powers for the incident.

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