3-And-Out: Tenarius Wright A 'Full-Time' Linebacker For Razorbacks

by Chris Bahn  on Wednesday, Mar. 28, 2012 10:05 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

News and notes from Wednesday’s post-practice media availability. 

I. Reclassification
Tenarius Wright’s move from defensive end to linebacker is no longer just an experiment.

Wright, at least for the spring, is a full-time linebacker. He could be moved back to end this fall, but with Alonzo Highsmith injured, Wright has entrenched himself at the middle linebacker position.

Earlier in the spring Wright was splitting time between linebacker and defensive end. That is no longer the case, something the former high school linebacker relishes.

“It’s a dream come true,” Wright said. “I’m trying to live it.”

Position coach Taver Johnson said Wright provides the two characteristics the Razorbacks are looking for in a middle linebacker. Wright is a “thumper” when it comes to hitting and he has good leadership skills.

Pass coverage is an area where Wright needs work. He’s still adjusting to the conditioning needed for more lateral movement, rather than crashing into offensive linemen play after play as a defensive lineman. 

Overall, though, Wright said the transition has been a smooth one. And he no longer has to joke with coaches and teammates about giving him a shot at linebacker.

“I was joking around with coaches asking them can I play middle? Can I play middle with Jerry leaving? Can I play middle?,” Wright said. “It just so happened that Highsmith got hurt. I didn’t wish anything on Highsmith getting hurt, but since the move has been changed all I can do is try to be the best Mike linebacker that Arkansas has had.”

II. Ready For Work

Veteran Arkansas players and coaches know what to expect from a Bobby Petrino spring. It's not unusual for scrimmages to extend more than 170 snaps - not including the kicking game.

How prepared are new additions defensive coordinator Paul Haynes and linebackers coach Taver Johnson for the marathon practices? Do they know what to expect entering Friday as the Razorbacks scrimmage for the first time this spring?

"That’s kind of the norm, a little bit," Haynes said. "I’m kind of used to all those plays. And this is the time to do it, because we’ve got a lot of young guys who need reps, and the more reps they get, the better you can coach it off the film and they can see themselves doing it."

Johnson echoed that sentiment. The more work the Razorbacks get this spring the better.

"We need tons of reps," Johnson said. "As many reps as we can get that’s going to be fine by me. That is no problem whatsoever.”

III. Plenty Of Work

Numbers are low at cornerback this spring. That means snap counts are high during practice for the available corners.

Senior Darius Winston said the players are learning to adjust to the increased workload. It just takes time to get used to extra snaps compared to previous years when the position was deeper.

“You get a little tired, but you’ve got to work through it,” Winston said. “I’m getting a lot of reps, and I’ve got to push through it and get better.”

Speaking Out
“I know Razorback Road. I know Martin Luther King. I know 540. That’s probably the extent of it. No, I’m getting around pretty good. My wife and my family are here now. Her sense of direction is through the roof, so I usually call her for directions and I’ve been here longer than she has.”

—Linebackers coach Taver Johnson on how he’s getting acclimated to life in Fayetteville. Johnson previously worked at Ohio State.



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