A lightening storm forced the Arkansas football team inside as the Razorbacks completed their second day of full-squad workouts with a spirited two-hour drill in shorts and shoulder pads.
Houston Nutt thought the intensity was superb. It was obvious in the one-on-one drills between the wide receivers and the defensive backs when the physical nature of the play came front and center.
"It's a little different than it was in the spring because we've got some competition now," Nutt said. "Some of the young pups will definitely bite you, and I like that."
The down side of that is that some of the freshmen can't contain themselves. With no pads on below the waist tackling has not been allowed, at least tackling to the ground. When Ahmad Batman Carroll tried to take Sam Breeden to the ground after a short pass late in practice, some shoving followed with each player landing a shot. An SEC official working the practice indicated that Carroll would have been flagged for a 15-yard penalty.
"Our older guys know the rules, that we aren't tackling to the ground and some were upset at the younger guys," Nutt said. "The young ones will learn it, but we do like the spirited competition."
Tight end J. Strain and safety Jamirr Gallon didn't practice after sustaining injuries Thursday, but neither injury is thought to be serious. Strain has a sprained knee and should return by Sunday. Gallon has a hamstring injury and also might be back in a day or two. Tight end Marcellus Poydras left practice for the second straight day because of dehydration. Cornerback Harold Harris sustained a mild hamstring injury. Defensive linemen James Johnson left practice early with what was believed to be a hyperextended knee.
The Hogs will have their first taste of two-a-days on Saturday when practices are slated for 9:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The team practiced only once Friday because as many as 50 players were taking final examinations in summer school during the morning.
George Wilson continued to excel in pass skeleton drills, hauling in several nice catches. Both Zak Clark and Ryan Sorahan threw interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Lawrence Richardson grabbed one, and Bo Mosley took a Clark screen pass intended for Cedric Cobbs to the end zone.
Secondary coach Dave Wommack was all smiles afterwards, noting the competition that has developed at many positions in the back of the defense.
"I like a lot of what I'm seeing," Wommack said. "Batman has done very well. We all need to be more consistent, but it's been good so far."
With Gallon out at free safety, Corey Harris worked quite a bit as Ken Hamlin's backup, allowing Eddie Jackson most of the snaps at strong safety or rover.
"That is going to give us more flexibility, with guys like Eddie Jackson," defensive coordinator John Thompson said. "Eddie was very good today."
There was a spark to open the practice when Nutt pulled the team together for "bull in the ring," a hitting drill that pits an offensive and defensive player with the entire team circled around. Shawn Andrews, 335-pound true freshman tackle, was the star, laying a pancake block on Pat Winn.
Freshman tailback Mark Pierce (above) at the start of drills Friday.
Offensive linemen drive the slide. That's Shawn Andrews on the far right side.
Southwest corner of the South End Zone.
The Press Box at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Bleachers are going in on the top level of the South End Zone.
Photos by Clay Henry.