Tuesday Grid Practice, 11/6

Arkansas decided closing practice was a good idea after winning a seven OT thriller at Ole Miss.

Arkansas' seniors liked the way everything worked last week leading up to the victory over Ole Miss, so the Razorback football team practiced behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon.

"I have always had open practices," said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. "We were going to open them back up this week. But, in our senior meeting Sunday night, our players stated that things went well last week and we decided to do it again at their request.

"I think the thoughts behind the seniors was that we have a lot of young players and that closing the practice keeps things from becoming distracting. We have a lot more media at practice now that things are going better. I don't want to do anything that keeps you guys from doing your jobs, but this has worked out pretty good."

Nutt allowed media to attend the first 30 minutes of practice, then closed the workout when the Hogs switched to the team segments. He opened the gates as the Hogs were running conditioning drills to close the workout.

"We worked them pretty hard, and I think that surprised the players some," Nutt said. "We kept doing the same things we've been doing. We went long in the middle drills. Some of the guys, like Jermaine Petty who had a lot of snaps Saturday, didn't get as much in the middle drills. But we did a lot of physical work."

Nutt said he is not sure that some of the walking wounded will be ready by the time Central Florida arrives on Saturday for the 1 p.m. Homecoming game. Kenny Sandlin (ankle), Mark Bokermann (ankle), Curt Davis (bumps and bruises) and Marvin Jackson (hamstring) did not practice Tuesday. All are questionable.

"We'll talk to Dean Weber and see if any of them can go Wednesday," Nutt said. "We expect to get Davis back, and the others say they will play ... but I don't know."

Davis said, "I could have gone today, but they wanted me to rest a day. It's probably a good idea. But, I'll play."

Sandlin was limping the most of the injured players. He said, "I'll be there on Saturday." Bokermann echoed those thoughts.

Line coach Mike Markuson was moving forward as if neither will play.

"We had Josh Melton at center, and he was excellent today," Markuson said. "Jim Peters looked good. I think both will step in for the game and play just like Bo Lacy did with Shannon Money out last week."

Money, who exited early in the Ole Miss game with back spasms, worked without problems Tuesday.

"It's been a problem all year," Markuson said of Money's back injury. "He just got to a point where he couldn't go Saturday. What I loved is that Bo Lacy stepped up and said, 'I'm ready, coach.' And, he was. He didn't miss a beat. He graded out extremely well. I liked the look in his eyes. He wanted to get in there and do something to help us win, and he did. He was good on the run blocking, grading out above 70 percent. And, he was really good in protection. All of the guys graded high in this game.

"I have a lot of confidence in Bo Lacy, and I have the same confidence in Jim Peters and Scott Davenport at guard. Josh Melton is doing great, too. These guys are going to help us. I am encouraged at the future after watching the way these guys are coming on right now. We need to keep working and keep adding some more players. I'm excited."

Sandlin said he expects to be close to full speed by Satyurday, and knows he'll have to be superb against UCF.

"They have a great player at nose guard (sophomore Larry Brown), an extremely athletic 300-pounder," Sandlin said. "I'll have him by myself a lot. He's as good as we see in the SEC, an excellent player. In our option package, I get him by myself. It's going to be a tough day because they have a great team. We know what we are getting into here, a really good team."

 


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