Wednesday Grid Update, 8/20

The question of the day seemed to be the speed of running back Korliss Marshall and the health of Jonathan Williams. The answers were all good from the Wednesday grid update.

How fast is Korliss Marshall? That was one of the topics -- along with getting ready for Auburn -- in the media room after Wednesday's practice at Arkansas.

"I'm not real sure," Marshall said. "I haven't been timed in the 40 since I was at an Ole Miss camp when I was in high school. That was something in the 4.3s. I believe I can do below that now, maybe in the 4.2s or the 4.1s. I hope I can. I know that I'm a lot faster now than I've ever been. I just feel faster and faster."

The sophomore quarterback probably was joking a bit about the 40 times. What he knows for sure, his coach thinks he's fast.

"We don't do 40 times here," he said. "We do 300 shuttles, that kind of stuff. But we do things to get faster. I have a few things that I do to get faster, too."

Like what?

"Well, this was more last year," he said. "I would leave the Broyles Center after practice and do some runs up the hill to the Northwest quads. I think that's Razorback Road, that steep run just to the left after you come out of the Broyles Center. I'd do 10 in a row, back-to-back."

Quarterback Brandon Allen wasn't surprised.

"Nothing he does surprises me," Allen said. "If you told me he ran in the 4.1s, I'd believe it. He's freaky fast. Really, he's a freak of nature. He hits a gear and you think that's it and then he hits another one. Freaky fast. No one else I've seen has that gear.

"That he did that hill after practice doesn't surprise me. Now, we do workout after practice. We are going to lift right now. But I don't think I'm going (to run that hill on Razorback Road). But he might."

The good news isn't how fast Marshall can run, it's how much he knows. He's got Auburn down pat after watching tape after tape this summer.

"I watched all we had, all of their games, studying everything they do," he said. "Then, I'd get on YouTube and study specific players, their highlights. I want to know them."

The key is what he knows about the Arkansas offense. He said it's not so much about what he does on the plays when he gets the ball, it's about the passing game.

"Last year, I didn't know the checks in the passing game, all of the protections," he said. "I couldn't run certain stuff. I know those checks, those protections now."

Jonathan Williams gave him some extra reps in the last week, sitting out a lot of the work after sustaining a mild hamstring injury.

"I think it was good for me and Alex (Collins) with J-Will out because we need that extra work on the pass pro and so we go it," Marshall said. "But he's back now. He did that stuff on the side, those medicine ball drills for a few days, all the rehab stuff, but he eased back into it today."

Williams called his health "100 percent" after practice. He said that hamstring injuries can "linger" and trainers took a cautious approach to a minor situation.

"You just don't want to take that chance with a hamstring and our trainers did a great job with me," Williams said. "I'm a veteran and know our stuff and it gave the others a few more snaps. So that was good. We are going to need all three of us and this was a good thing the way it worked out. But I'm 100 percent now. I'm good."

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney thinks Williams is much better.

"He seems better and we'll give him more as the week goes along and expect him (full speed)," Chaney said. "I expect him to be perfect."

As far as the weekend scrimmage, Chaney said it was a good look for everyone, including backup Austin Allen.

"We had everything there for him on Saturday, the entire offense and that can be tough for a young player," he said. "It's tough for all the young players. But now that we are into game week, or right at it, we'll scale it back to the game plan and he can polish that. It becomes easier for all of them."

Chaney was asked about the running game and comparisons to last year.

"I think we are better," he said. "We should be better. We had some production in the running game, but we made mistakes. We should have good production there and we want to be a good running team. It's not about the production as far as stats go. It's about wins. We need to win games."

But what about the passing game. Someone suggested that the Hogs "sucked" in the passing game last year. Can Chaney remember one of his offenses struggling so much in the passing game?

"Not really," he said. "We have always been a lot better throwing the ball than that. I hope we prove we are better than that. Really, we've been just talking. Now it's time to see where the rubber meets the road. I'm antsy. It's time.

"I think our players are focused and tuned in. I think playing Auburn first does that to you. I think players always spend time in the summer looking at opponents. I've always known them to do that. But it probably puts more focus into the film study when you play a team that was in the national championship game and won the SEC title. They've got a big S on their shirts, deservedly so."

Chaney said the Hogs began working against scout teams on Wednesday with more practice against Auburn looks the rest of the week, leading up to a mock game Saturday when there is no media access during or after.

"This is the hot part of practice when guys would normally dragging, but getting the Auburn stuff in picks them up," he said. "It was hot today but there was some energy out there with our guys and they liked it. They know we are about to game week and we are getting close to playing."

Allen said, "We even liked that it was hotter. We know that's how it is going to be at Auburn. We have worked on the artificial surface practice field some and that makes it even hotter. We know we are going to be ready for a hot day."

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