While his status still remains up in the air for Saturday’s SEC opener with visiting South Carolina, Arkansas sophomore  tailback Dominique Johnson is moving closer to game action.

Johnson (6-1, 247), who injured his knee late last season has spent most of the preseason in a green non-contact jersey.

He shed that on Tuesday and Razorback head coach Sam Pitman liked what he saw from the sophomore, who rushed for 575 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns.

“I thought he looked good,” Pittman said. “I still think it’s up in the air whether we’ll play him or not this week, but I think he certainly has improved over the last week and a half.

Obviously we have today to look at him as well. We’ll just have to see how he feels. He looked to me like he’s ready to go, but we’ll have to kind of see how he feels about it before we decide.

“I think we still have two pretty good days that he can build some confidence and see if he’s ready to play or not. To be honest with you right now it’s kind of up to him.”

The Razorbacks (1-0) will host the Gamecocks (1-0) in an 11 a.m. ESPN nationally televised game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.


Arkansas suffered a pair of injuries in the secondary last week in safety Jalen Catalon and nickel back Myles Slusher, whose condition was not updated by Pittman on Wednesday.

Pittman noted that his team has put a point of emphasis on a few specifics this week.

“I think it’s a little bit of pre-snap, right motions, right reads, right communication. I’m talking about on both sides of the ball, not necessarily the motion. But reading keys, communication off of that, trying to win the game on what we know mentally. Trying to see the game played before the snap of the ball, on both sides of the ball. Straining, finishing blocks better. Being better tacklers. Go back and we can learn some things from fundamentals. Throw and catch the ball better. Things of that nature.”

Pittman is not worried about his team’s  effort or physicality.

“We don’t have a problem of playing hard or playing physical,” Pittman said. “ Didn’t have many loafs at all in the game. You just want to be a little bit crisper, and I think you’ll try and get that each and every week. But once you actually see yourself in that particular season on tape, I think you can learn a lot from that, both as a coaching staff and players.

“And I think that after the game it felt like we had – it didn’t feel like we had lost the game but it certainly didn’t feel like a top 25 win.”

Pittman doesn’t want his team top be satisfied with a win, but also not disappointed with one.

“ I think that’s where you want your program, but at the same time you’d like to celebrate wins as well. I had a good talk with them about that after the game. But I think all those things, I think we have a mature team that’s now won several games and I think they understand we have a lot of work to do. We certainly are respectful of South Carolina and watching video and see what they do and all those things. But we have a lot of work to do like I explained, on ourselves.”