Defensive end Deatrich Wise did not participate in Wednesday night’s practice in Razorback Stadium because of a sprained knee he suffered earlier this week.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said the sophomore could miss a couple of weeks.
“I don’t know if he’ll be back this week or next week,” Bielema said. “We hope to get him back the beginning of Auburn week if not sometime during that week.”
Arkansas is counting on the 6-foot-6, 272-pound Wise to step into the starting role after collecting 17 tackles and two sacks as a reserve last season. Wise has shown plenty of potential, too, after being credited with five sacks in the Red-White Game.
Wise had been working with Arkansas’ first-team defense throughout preseason camp, but was replaced by redshirt freshman Tevin Beanum on Wednesday night.
Defensive end Brandon Lewis also missed Wednesday night’s practice because of a sore knee, leaving the Razorbacks with depth concerns at defensive end outside of senior Trey Flowers. But Bielema said the injuries were an opportunity for players like Beanum, sophomore Jamichael Winston and freshman Anthony Brown.
“I would bet you if you asked every college player how he got his first start in college football or his first opportunity is because of an injury,” Bielema said. “That’s exactly what’s happening right now with Deatrich.”
Bielema was asked if there was any chance Wise wouldn’t be ready for the season opener against Auburn. Bielema said he’s optimistic Wise will return in time.
“Well, I’m pretty sure just because I know Deatrich and I know how much that game is going to mean,” Bielema said. “He was really having a great scrimmage. And it’s nothing serious. I mean, he could be back in 10 days … we’ll see where it is.”
Bielema on Peters
Bielema provided more details regarding linebacker Otha Peters, who decided to leave the program after the first week of preseason camp.
He said the sophomore came to him Sunday frustrated with his spot on the depth chart. Bielema said the Razorbacks offered Peters, who was with the second-team defense at middle linebacker, a chance to move to fullback.
“That’s something he didn’t want to do,” Bielema said. “But he tried it on Monday morning and it didn’t go the way he wanted it to go. He didn’t feel good about it.”
Bielema said Peters has gone back home to Louisiana with plans to transfer somewhere within his home state. Junior college transfer Josh Williams is now second on the depth chart at middle linebacker behind Brooks Ellis.
Wise and Lewis weren’t the only players missing Wednesday night.
Running back Jonathan Williams (hamstring), tight end A.J. Derby (knee), safety Alan Turner (eye), safety Davyon McKinney (undisclosed), linebacker Randy Ramsey (oblique) and defensive back Santos Ramirez (calf) also missed the workout.
In addition, right tackle Brian Wallace (ankle) and defensive tackle Grady Ollison (ankle) were injured late in the practice.
Bielema was hopeful most of them will be back for Saturday’s scrimmage.
“I really think the only guy of significance that won’t be with us on Saturday for the scrimmage will probably be A.J. and he’s day to day,” Bielema said. “(Williams) has a chance. But all those guys should return next week.”
• Defensive back Alex Brignoni, who has been plagued by injuries, has filed paperwork to get a medical scholarship. He’s working with the program as a special teams student assistant. “Unfortunately the statistics tell you that’s going to happen to a certain kid, a number of kids in each class,” Bielema said. “But he’s handled it like a champion. He’s doing great in school, and hopefully keep him involved.”
• Bielema ejected wide receiver Drew Morgan and cornerback Carroll Washington from the end of practice after the two were involved in a scuffle during Arkansas’ 2-minute work. “The most selfish thing is they disrupted the 2-minute for the other 20 players on the field,” Bielema said. “So I don’t mind a little intensity. I don’t mind getting after it but don’t take away what we are trying to do.”
• The first-team offense was sharp during the 2-minute drill. Bielema credited quarterback Brandon Allen. “B.A. I think has done a really good job in everything we’re doing,” Bielema said. “(Wednesday) morning he was exceptional. He’s got so much confidence. … The deep ball, the short ball, intermediate, over the middle, outside, check down, throw away, he’s been really good.”