Wednesday Grid Report, 8/13

Arkansas donned shoulder pads for the first time, and the intensity picked up in quick fashion. Two of the main liners got in some extra hitting.

Arkansas put on shoulder pads for its third practice of the season, and that made things a little more intense with the first fight of the season erupting from an unlikely source.

Shawn Andrews and Jeb Huckeba locked up in a fight that took them to the ground about midway through the team drills. It was sparked when Huckeba's hand slipped inside Andrews' face mask.

"Shawn got poked in the eye, and that's what happened there," said Houston Nutt, the UA coach. "I think that started things."

Someone asked Nutt if it was a good thing.

"Well, you like the intensity, but you can't be the one who throws the second blow, can't retaliate," Nutt said. "And, that's what we will talk about tonight when we meet. I don't want (penalties)."

Huckeba said he apologized if his finger hit Andrews in the eye.

"I didn't know what happened," he said. "Things happen sometimes and you don't even know it. I sure wasn't trying to hurt Shawn. Me hurt Shawn? Don't think I could do that."

An official working the practice said Andrews shoved Huckeba after the hand went to the face mask and that Huckeba responded. Andrews took Huckeba to the ground and some blows were exchanged, mainly with Huckeba landing to the mid section of Andrews. Andrews' helmet came off at some point.

Interestingly, teammates cheered each of the players before some waded in to separate them.

"Shawn is my friend and I hate what happened," Huckeba said. "But you are going hard and things happen. We go against each other a lot. He's an All-American and I want to be against him every chance I get so I'll step in the front (of the line) to get a chance to play against him."

Andrews usually wins those battles, and did several times during one-on-one and middle drill earlier in the day.

The Hogs did not tackle to the ground in any drill because they won't put on any leg pads until Friday, but the contact was still intense.

"We had some interceptions with the live rush in team drill," Nutt said. "You saw in team that Matt Jones has that escapability that makes him special. He was smooth and made things happen. Ryan (Sorahan) had an interception or two when he was trying to get rid of it with pressure."

The quarterbacks did find Carlos Ousley for three long TDs, two of them in team drills. David Thompson also had a couple of nice catches.

"I thought we made some progress today," said Roy Wittke, the QB coach. "Yes, we threw some picks, but we wanted Ryan to test himself a little and he tried to squeeze some into tight coverage. In some ways, that's good. What I really liked is that he came right back and made a great read when the DB tried the same thing. He checked into a different route, a go, and made a nice throw. It was what we wanted to see and the right kind of adjustment.

"The thing we are happy with is that we are moving forward and adding a lot of things. We have put in a lot of things in the last three days, and now it will start getting a little more simple.

"I thought both Matt and Ryan had good days. We let Matt take the snaps in middle drills and save his arm for team, and that let the other quarterbacks get a lot of work in the pass skeleton and individual. And, then Matt came over and got a lot more of the work in team. He did well, made some nice throws."

Eddie Jackson took advantage of the few mistakes made by the quarterbacks, intercepting three passes. Two of them were returned for TDs.

However, the second secondary gave up three long TD passes.

"Our first group did well," said Bobby Allen, secondary coach. "Our second group had some mistakes. We were in halves and one of the safeties didn't pick up an underneath route that went deep. That can't happen."

Tony Bua, stepping in at the top unit at free safety, made no mistakes and his group didn't give up any deep balls.

Lawrence Richardson didn't practice for the second straight day after doctors extracted a tooth on Tuesday. He should return on Thursday. Willie Hordge left early because of a possible pulled groin muscle. Nutt said both groin muscles were tender and the trainers wanted to begin treatment early. De'Arrius Howard took a blow to a knee and was down for quite a bit, but came back to practice without a limp.

Houston Nutt said it was still not clear when Titus Peebles would join the team. He said he expected him at practice Wednesday, but there was still more paperwork to be filed. He said it's "an any day thing for him to be out here."

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