Hogs looking for answers on third down

Arkansas has more proven offensive playmakers returning than any team in the SEC.

So as Tyler Wilson steps in at quarterback this season, he'll do so with the comfort of knowing that he can turn around and hand the ball off to Knile Davis and throw it to the likes of Greg Childs, Joe Adams or Jarius Wright. They combined for 31 offensive touchdowns last season.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said one of the most obvious challenges for the Hogs on offense this season will be taking care of the football at quarterback. But just as important will be converting third downs, which is where former tight end D.J. Williams was so valuable.

"That’s what we need to learn as an offense, how to convert third downs, and not only at quarterback, but we lost that tight end we used to go to a whole bunch," Petrino said. "When you’re missing that third-and-medium guy with tremendous confidence, we now have to have some guys step up."

Junior tight end Chris Gragg has already shown that he can get down the field and make a few plays. The next step is becoming that go-to guy on third-and-medium and getting the tough yards in the same mold as Williams. Petrino also expects big things from sophomore receiver Julian Horton.

"Julian Horton can really run great routes and catch the ball away from his body when he’s covered," Petrino said. "Chris Gragg has done a nice job of running and catching, kind of the same role we used D.J. in during his sophomore year. Chris just isn’t quite ready to run-block and pass-block like D.J. did."