Monday Grid Report, 11/24

Hogs look for improvement at linebacker as preparation for LSU begins.

Arkansas worked for about 90 minutes Monday, departing for the normal routine because of the Friday date with LSU in Baton Rouge.

"We had a good learning day today," Houston Nutt said after the Hogs completed their workout inside Walker Pavilion. They went inside because of 38-degree weather outside.

The Hogs were without Ahmad Carroll on Monday, but the head coach thinks the star cornerback could be ready by the 1:30 p.m. start Friday.

"He can't cut just yet, but we are hopeful he'll be able to play," Nutt said. "The swelling isn't what we feared."

Carroll has a bruised knee and a minor ankle sprain. He may not practice much this week, but that shouldn't keep him out of the game. Carroll did some light jogging on Monday along with a burst or two just to test his ankle.

Sam Olajubutu practiced with the second team at middle linebacker, but Nutt wasn't specific on whether or not the sophomore would be available against LSU. Olajubutu was suspended last week for an alcohol-related offense. He did not suit up or practice with the team last week.

Asked if Olajubutu would play against LSU, Nutt said, "I don't know yet. He's paid a stiff price and done the things we asked the last week."

Dave Wommack, the Hogs' defensive coordinator, didn't have any better idea on Olajubutu's availability. But he liked what he saw from the Hogs' linebackers in practice, starting with the depth.

"We've got some guys back," Wommack said. "Michael Robinson is better and so is Clarke Moore. We've got some numbers now. We don't know about Sam's status just yet."

Caleb Miller practiced at middle linebacker with the first team and Olajubutu was his backup. Desmond Sims worked at Miller's old spot at stinger linebacker with Pierre Brown filling the backup spot. Moore and Robinson rotated in and out with the second team.

"Our linebackers didn't play especially well against Missisissippi State last week," Wommack said. "Desmond Sims didn't get over the blocks and there were some running lanes. We got blocked, basically. We must improve this week. Desmond hadn't played there and his eyes weren't trained. He bit on some things."

LSU has a solid offense and will run the ball from three and four wideout sets, according to Wommack.

"They are a lot like what we saw a few years back with the Bowdens at Auburn and Tulane," Wommack said. "They get in three and four wide receiver sets and then count what you have in the box. If you cover the wideouts, they run it. If you keep enough in the box to stop the run, then they throw it and get you in some great matchups with their speed guys. They have a good concept and their quarterback has been effective. They are very, very good on offense in what they try to do to your defense."

There was one injury Monday. Freshman tight end Jonathon Barry suffered what appeared to be a torn quadriceps muscle during an intense one-on-one passing session with the inside linebackers.

The Hogs normally take Monday off to concentrate on academics, but practiced because of the short work week. They'll practice again Tuesday and Wednesday before having Thanksgiving dinner in Northwest Arkansas and then boarding a plane Thursday afternoon for Baton Rouge. There is no school on Wednesday so Nutt said the Hogs will take advantage of the open day for extensive meeting time before their workout.

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