Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was disappointed after another thunderstorm cut practice short, this time just before he was scheduled to put the squad through some heavy conditioning.
"We were going to end the day with gassers," Nutt said. "We had a good morning practice, and had good intensity in the afternoon, too. What we needed was some gassers to really test the squad. Then, the storm came and we had to stop."
The Hogs got in 16 of their scheduled 20 periods of work in the afternoon. They had not planned for a storm like they had Friday when they brought their indoor shoes to the practice field. Hence, they couldn't run on cleats in the indoor workout facility. The coaches still put the team through some half-speed steps on cleats to use the remaining 15 minutes.
Radale Pearson's injury in the morning workout was diagnosed as a strained patella tendon, the same injury that decked James Johnson the day before. Pearson should miss several days.
Cedric Cobbs couldn't finish practice after his right hamstring cramped due to dehydration.
"Cedric is okay, but he needs to do a better job of drinking water," Nutt said. "He's lean right now and his muscles tend to be tight. He has to hydrate better."
Starting center Josh Melton also could not finish practice due to dehydration. Marcellus Poydras sat out after suffering heat-related problems in the morning workout. J.Strain did not work for the second straight day after sustaining a sprained knee on the first play Thursday.
"We were short on tight ends without Strain and Poydras," Nutt said. "And, you think it's not that hot, but it is still really humid and we had Josh Melton go down because of fluid losses. You have to be so very careful because of the fluid losses."
The afternoon session featured what was an impressive pass-and-catch drill with the quarterbacks and receivers against the secondary. Richard Smith made several nice catches, including a pair behind the defense. Both Zak Clark and Ryan Sorahan were impressive throwing the ball. Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Jones also had some nice throws.
Brandon Holmes continues to shine at tailback, although he opened at fullback on the day's first play, a sweep to Cedric Cobbs.
"Both of them are doing well," Danny Nutt said. "Cedric has something that none of our backs have, and that is the ability to stop on a dime, and get outside. But, Brandon Holmes is a different back than he was in the fall and is even better than he was in the spring. He is the best we have at running down hill. He can see the crack now and get through it. He made an impressive run today in middle drill.
"We are blessed with two great backs and we have some others that are going to get there, too. De'Arrius Howard is going to be a good one, but he's not there yet. He has some things to learn. He is not quite in shape yet, and he's still learning the proper way to carry the ball. He has to learn that."
The Hogs will practice only once Sunday, probably around 3 p.m. Nutt promises a heavy dose of conditioning to end the Sunday afternoon practice.
"I wanted it today after the second practice because I thought that would really test them to the maximum," Nutt said. "I promised them after the practice that we would run them hard after Sunday's workout. They'll go to church, then we'll get them for a good afternoon of work."
Arkansas worked about 90 minutes indoors before breaking for a session in the weight room Saturday morning.
Head coach Houston Nutt was excited about the intense, solid play of a rapidly improving defensive secondary. Nutt praised Ahmad Carroll, Lawrence Richardson, De'Andre Berry, Ken Hamlin and Marvin Jackson for their work in the secondary.
"I haven't seen play in the secondary like I've seen the last two days in quite a while around here," Nutt said. "These guys are playing very well. They are so quick and they close on the ball like you want. They are diving and batting down balls and making plays."
Batman Carroll intercepted one pass. Marvin Jackson made a diving breakup on a deep ball.
The receivers did make some plays against some of the reserves. Sparky Hamilton had his second impressive day in a row.
"Sparky was very good today," Nutt said. "He made a lot of catches, including one nice one over the middle. You can tell he is stepping up. There aren't any Boo Williams, or Anthony Lucas around and he knows it is his time."
The Hogs will work outside this afternoon after two straight in Walker Pavilion. The turf in Walker may have cost the Hogs one player. Tailback Radale Pearson sustained an knee injury when his foot seemed to grab when he was pushed to the ground after a reception over the middle.
Defensive tackle James Johnson has a sprained patella tendon. He should return to practice in a couple of days. He sat out Saturday's drills. Also, Harold Harris and J. Strain are sidelined. Harris has a hamstring strain and Strain has a sprained knee. Both players should return in a couple of days.
Sparky Hamilton (above) was superb in the morning workout.
John Thompson (above) visits with George Wilson during the stretch.
A thunderstorm rolls in above the South End Zone.
Richard Smith works against Marvin Jackson (33).
A nice crowd attended Saturday afternoon's workout.
Nathan Ball (above) made this catch against Jeb Huckeba.
Shawn Davis (above) prepares to strike a blow during middle drill.
Quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson, Zak Clark and Ryan Sorahn work two balls in a triangle drill to practice option pitches. Robby Hampton (11) did not participate.
Mark Pierce (above) broke free in the middle drill.
Ryan Sorahan (10) listens to David Lee.
Zak Clark (17) takes water during a break with Ryan Sorahan.
Photos by Clay Henry