Arkansas began game week practice with a two-hour plus workout in full pads with an emphasis on special situations.
"We tried to cover as many things as possible, everything that could possibly come up," Houston Nutt said.
The Hogs worked on goal line situations, and then finished up with some two-minute drill situations. They also simulated noise on the goal line with the entire squad yelling as the starting unit snapped the ball.
The Hogs welcomed back tight end J. Strain, out with a knee injury since the first play of fall camp. Strain, out last season with a blown ACL, strained his medial collateral ligament in his knee on the first day of varsity practice earlier in the month.
"I don't know what we might get from J. Strain for the first game, but we might get something," Nutt said. "We are going to watch him for the next couple of days to assess where he is now."
Strain went through most of the workout, but did not do much hitting.
"He's good to go, but we told him to be careful about trying to do too much today in his first day back," said Dean Weber, the Hogs' trainer. "He could play in the first game. But, we want him to take it easy for a day or two more. He's been cleared."
Offensive line coach Mike Markuson liked what he saw of Shawn Andrews, the Hogs' freshman right tackle.
"We got him in on a little more things today," Markuson said. "I think he's going to be a fine player. Is he ready now? No, he isn't. Will he get there this season? Maybe. Yes, we might get him in the first game."
Markuson indicated he is pleased with tackle Shannon Money's shape after missing a week of practice.
Money returned to practice Tuesday after sitting out a week with a MCL strain.
"Shannon isn't all the way back, but he's real close and he did a lot more today than he did yesterday," Webber said. "He's going to be fine for the first game."
Curt Davis did not practice for the second straight day with a swollen knee, but he should be okay for Thursday's dress rehearsal, closed to fans and the media, in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The only other Hogs not practicing were Robby Hampton, Harold Harris and Radale Pearson.
"Curt could have played if it was game day, but you could see how thin we are in the defensive line without him in there," Nutt said. "It gave Sacha Lancaster a chance to move in there for some plays. And, he was perfect for three plays. I think Sacha can give us some flexibility in there on the defensive line."
Brennan O'Donohoe continues to run first team at placekicker, but the Hogs have a strong backup with David Carlton. Carlton, freshman from Tulsa Kelly, booted a 62-yarder in the stadium while the Hogs were working on the practice field.
Nutt said the Thursday night rehearsal will be closed to eliminate distractions.
"We just want everyone's attention," Nutt said. "We have never closed practice, but I wanted to do it in this situation. We will work on substitutions. We don't want anyone standing on the sideline as we do this. We will close it and try to really concentrate on the situations we will have in games."
Robby Hampton did not practice, but trainer Dean Webber indicated the quarterback's injured shoulder continues to improve.
"He's making progress and getting better," Webber said. "I think he'll be back this season. He's hanging in there."
Harold Harris did some jogging during practice. Harris is recovering from a hamstring pull. He may return to the practice field next week.
DeCori Birmingham (32) before Wednesday's workout.
Cedric Cobbs before warmups.
J. Strain takes some water.
Ryan Sorahan barks out the signals.
Shannon Money (61) waits on his turn.
Houston Nutt calls a play during middle drills.
The defense during middle drills.
Ryan Sorahan (10) cuts towards Jeb Huckeba (11) and Jermaine Petty (40) during middle drill.
The offensive line.
Houston Nutt instructs in pass skeleton.
David Lee calls a play.
Houston Nutt visits with the team after practice.
Te team huddles after practice.
Photos by Clay Henry