Friday Practice Report, 8/24

Arkansas practiced only about an hour before breaking for watermelon in a padless drill Friday afternoon on the grass practice field. Sacha Lancaster, injured Thursday night, did not practice, but should befine for the UNLV game.

Arkansas began to polish the game plan for Thursday's season opener with Nevada-Las Vegas as the Hogs worked for around an hour without any pads or helmets. They cut the practice short to feast on watermelon.

Sacha Lancaster, the senior utility man, did not practice after rolling an ankle in Thursday's closed practice. The swelling was the size of a grapefruit Thursday evening, but it was near normal size Friday after Lancaster stayed at the Broyles Center all night for treatment.

"He was moving around pretty good today," Houston Nutt said of Lancaster. "I don't think it's so bad as we thought originally. It was pretty big last night."

Defensive coordinator John Thompson, who has plugged Lancaster in as a backup defensive end, thinks the former tackle will play against UNLV.

Thompson did not reveal his starter at mdidle linebacker, but Jermaine Petty worked with the first team Friday after filling in behind Shane Collins all spring and throughout two-a-days.

It appears tight end J. Strain, out for all but the last three workouts of preseason, will play in the opener.

"He's moving around pretty well," said James Shibest, tight ends coach. "We want to get him some snaps in the first game. We'll check him again after Tuesday, but it looks like he'll play to me.

"Nathan Ball is our starter and Marcellus Poydras has done well, too. Marcellus is a little light and we need to get some weight back on him so he won't be too light at the end of the season."

Ball said he feels good about where the offense is right now, noting quarterback Zak Clark has been outstanding.

"That stuff on the scrimmage was overblown," Ball said. "Zak has been great all fall. In fact, he's been great all summer and all fall. He had a couple of passes the other night that weren't great, but he's doing well. We love our quarterback."

Clark just shrugged his shoulders concerning the public backlash over the lack of offensive production in the scrimmage on Saturday.

"We didn't do as well as we'd like, but I think we've looked good this fall," Clark said. "Are we ready? Maybe not quite all the way ready, but are right where we are supposed to be. I think we've done well and I feel good about my performance in two-a-days. We can't worry what everyone on the outside thinks about how we looked the other night."

Arkansas' newly-released depth chart held no surprises. It listed Cedric Cobbs, Brandon Holmes and Fred Talley as the co-starters at tailback, but Holmes was listed the starter at fullback ahead of freshman Mark Pierce and sophomore Mark Luther.

In the secondary, Eddie Jackson has nosed out Batman Carroll for the starting slot at one cornerback. Lawrence Richardson is the starter at the other cornerback ahead of Bo Mosley, superb in the last week.

Thompson said Batman Carroll would play plenty in the opener, both at cornerback and the nickel back called Gator in Thompson's terminology.

"When we go to the extra back in the secondary and use the Gator, it will be Batman,": Thompson said. "In the past, we've used that defense about half the time, so you could just about say Eddie, Lawrence and Batman are all starters."

Thompson would not call Petty "the starter" at middle linebacker. Instead, he said Petty ran with the first team Friday and that both would play against UNLV perhaps almost equally.

"Both Jermaine and Shane have played well," Thompson said. "Jermaine has had a great fall camp and has developed into one of our main leaders on defense."

There were no injuries in the Hogs' brief workout. They will be on the field for another light workout Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

Sorahan and Lee

Ryan Sorahan (left) listens to David Lee at practice Friday.


Zak Clark (17) warms up at pratice Friday.


Clark goes after the watermelon after practice.


George Wilson stretches.


John Thompson (above) hollers some instructions.


The south end zone (above) on Friday.


The back of the south end zone is getting some final touches.


Robby Hampton (above) said his shoulder is improving. He threw a lot Thursday afternoon in a private workout.


Lawrence Richardson (above) warms up Friday.


Houston Nutt during stretching Friday.


Brandon Holmes (1) stretches Friday.


Ken Hamlin (left) and Carlos Hall visit before practice.


Bobby Allen drills the defensive line Friday.


Bo Lacy (75) and Shannon Money.


Batman Carroll (above) donned Marvin Jackson's 33 jersey on Friday as players pulled the switcheroo on numbers.

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