With the way Rocket Sanders played last year and in Week 1 Saturday against Cincinnati, it’s easy to forget Arkansas is actually missing its returning starter at running back.
Dominique Johnson, who started the second half of the season last year and was one of four Arkansas players to break the 500-yard mark rushing, could return in Week 2 for the Razorbacks’ SEC opener against South Carolina.
“I think he certainly has improved over the last week and a half,” coach Sam Pittman said.
Pittman brought Johnson along slowly during fall camp and the start of the season, keeping the running back in a green no-contact jersey for a bulk of practices. Last week, ahead of the Cincy game, the staff put him through some paces with reps, but knew, more or less, he wasn’t going to play.
That hasn’t been the case this week. Coaches have let him get back into the mix with his teammates during practice. They removed the green jersey on Tuesday.
Johnson’s return might not remove Sanders from the starting role, though. Sanders, a sophomore, ran for his second career 100-yard game against the Bearcats.
But Sanders, Johnson, AJ Green and Rashod Dubinion in the backfield, plus KJ Jefferson at quarterback? Arkansas could have the deepest collection of runners in college football.