FAYETTEVILLE — Junior running back Trelon Smith led the Razorbacks in rushing last season despite only starting four games.

Smith played in all 10 games rushing 134 times for 710 yards and five touchdowns. He was third on the team with 22 receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown. Smith talked about his offseason went.

“Offseason, as far as me, it was amazing,” Smith said. “I busted my – I worked my tail off. The whole team this offseason busted our ass and it’s starting to pay off.”

Smith liked what he saw the first day of spring drills.

“Oh man, first day of spring was exciting.” Smith said. “I was happy to be out there, the offense was happy to e out there. It was just fast-paced today and up-tempo as well.”

Only senior T.J. Hammonds is older than him in the running back room. The coaches have called upon Smith to be a leader in the group.

“Yeah man, it’s different but I knew this time would come and I’m ready,” Smith said. “The young bucks, they look up to me so I’ve got to be the one to step in when they’re doing bad and lead them in the right direction. Coach (Jimmy) Smith brought me off to the side and told me, hey, I’m leading this room. I feel like that’s part of my job as well. Not to only show the young ones how to do the things but also coach them up if they need help with something or if they’re trying to learn something. I want them to know they can always come to me player to player and I can help them.”

Speaking of young bucks, how did the two true freshmen, Javion Hunt and Raheim “Rocket” Sanders look?

“You know coming in at first you could have jitters or what not, but I’ll definitely say Javion and Rocket are hanging in there and getting the hang of things,” Smith said. “They’re picking up on things very quickly. They’re learning from me, so I’m back there with Coach Smith coaching them up on things. I’m trying to catch them up as fast as possible. But those guys, they’re ready. They’re excited. They’re out there learning as much as they can.”

The drills were fast moving with the players hustling from station to station. What led to that and who had big plays?

“Most definitely, Coach (Sam) Pittman coming into this spring passionately speaks on tempo,” Smith said. “He wants us to move. He wants everything to be fast, on and off the field. Coming on the field he wants us running. Coming off the field he wants us running. So coming into Day 1 that was on our mind. Transitioning on and off the field today was huge. We did a great job of that.

“Malik Hornsby had a good throw today down the field in the two-minute drill took us to the five-yard line I want to say. Josh Oglesby on outside zone ended up scoring the touchdown for us in the red zone. There was a lot of big plays today. I broke on a few plays. I saw Treylon Burks on the other side of the field making good catches in the one-on-one drills. The O-line busting their tail. Defense working. But I really just like what I’m seeing across the whole board. KJ Jefferson was looking good today as well. He looked comfortable in the backfield. I like what I’m seeing from him.”

Who caught the long Hornsby pass?

“It was Kendall Catalon,” Smith said.

Oglesby is redshirt junior who doubles on the track team. He was looking good last fall before he was injured and missed the season. How is he looking now?

“Oh man, Oglesby is looking good,” Smith said. “He’s come a long way with his rehab just to get back into the mix. I’m happy for him. As an individual I’m happy for him. He’s my brother. He’s looking good. He’s back lifting, back running so as far as his injury goes I feel like it’s behind him.”

Smith talked about the offensive line as well.

“That O-line, man, all I’ve got is positive things to say about those guys,” Smith said. “Those guys during this offseason, they had it on their mind. They want to come in and be different this year. They want to be a completely different O-line this year. With that being said, those guys busted their tails. Across the whole board, they busted their tail, working hard. First day of spring, you really can’t tell because we didn’t have pads on, but from what I was seeing as I was getting the ball in the backfield, they’re creating holes. I’m definitely excited to see what we can do this year.”

On Monday, Pittman talked about the team maybe passing more on third-and-short situations last season than he would like.

“To be honest with you, I sure would like to on third-and-short we threw the ball than what we would like to,” Pittman said. “I believe that our first down of getting four yards or more, turn around and hand the ball off is big for us. I think we have to — we played behind the chains too much last year. We weren’t confident. Evidently we weren’t confident enough in our kids that we can turn around and hand the ball off on third-and-2 and third-and-3 and get the first down. So, I don’t know about percentages.

“I think they’ll go up because we’ve got to come out of spring ball with the ability to think we can run the football, and then after that — and that could be a quarterback run as well. But I think we have to do a better job of running the football and that takes us out of those third down situations where we either didn’t protect it well enough, we didn’t find the open receiver, or we didn’t get open. One or the other. Sacks have a lot to do with a lot of people. But we’ve got to trim that number down as well. And how you do it is winning first down, run or pass. But we have to certainly do a better job percentage wise when we hand the ball off.”

Does Smith and the offensive line take that as a challenge?

“We definitely take that as a challenge,” Smith said. “We want to be a powerhouse football team. We want to be a smash-mouth football team. In those type of situations, no third-and-2, third-and-3, we want to be able to hand the ball off to the back and go get those three yards the dirty way. So coming into this season, we want to show everybody, hey, we can do that. I’ve talked to my O-line, they’ve talked to me, and that’s huge. We want to be able to let Coach (Kendal) Briles know, hey, on third-and-2, third-and-3, you don’t have to go in there, you can just hand it off and we’re going to get it for you. That’s our main focus and we’re doing pretty good.”

Arkansas will practice again on Thursday.