Monday Football Practice Report

Arkansas worked for 90 minutes in preparation for LSU on Friday. Linebacker Jermaine Petty wins national award.

Arkansas took advantage of the lights in Reynolds Razorback Stadium for a 90-minute workout in shorts that coaches and players alike termed excellent.

Afterwards, sports information director Kevin Trainor announced he'd gotten word from the Football Writers Association of America that middle linebacker Jermaine Petty had been honored as the national defensive player of the week. Petty recorded 14 tackles against Mississippi State. It's the second time he's won the honor this season.

 

"Jermaine Petty is playing like an All-American," said Houston Nutt, the Hogs head coach. "He has a great game every week."

Defensive coordinator John Thompson said Petty had a nearly flawless game against the Bulldogs. The Hogs held MSU to 65 yards on the ground in the 24-21 victory.

As far as the workout Monday, Nutt said, "Our players have given us great effort in practice the last six weeks, and today and Sunday was no exception. They worked hard and did everything we asked of them, just as they have all season. We looked crisp and sharp."

The Hogs usually take Monday off for labs, but couldn't afford to do that since their game with LSU comes a day early on Friday. The game is set for 1:30 p.m. for CBS-TV. A few tickets remain in 92,000-seat Tiger Stadium, but most are seats in the extreme top areas of the expanded facility.

"Our team knows to expect a great LSU team," Nutt said. "They have a great running game with Brandon Toefield, and they have a great pass-catch combination in Rohan Davey and receiver Josh Reed."

Defensive coordinator John Thompson knows his team will have its hands full in trying to stop the run and the pass with the Tiger offense. Few teams in the league have the play-action potential that LSU possesses, something that causes concern from Thompson.

"We stopped the run for the most part against MSU, but we were geared for that," Thompson said. "With LSU, you have to be careful because of their passing game and their running game. It's tough. They have great players."

The Hogs enter the game relatively healthy. The only player who is out this week who played against MSU is kick returner/cornerback Marvin Jackson. He has a severely sprained ankle. The Hogs will have to wait until later in the week to see how Fred Talley's sprained shoulder reacts to treatment.

The Hogs kept physical contact to a minimum last week, and will try to do that this week in hopes of having fresh legs for the Tigers.

The Hogs will work outside on their practice field Wednesday when their workout will be a bit earlier in the day. Portable lights have been set up next to the practice field because of the earlier darkness.

"We had to go inside the stadium today because we started so late in the day," Nutt said. "But, we'll go a little bit earlier Wednesday, and we'll be able to use some daylight on the practice field."

Curt Davis, UA nose tackle from Monroe, La., said he is pumped about playing his final regular-season game on national TV in his homestate.

"It doesn't get any bigger than this," Davis said. "It's a game that you dream about. I know it won't be easy. No one goes into that stadium and beats them very often. My teammates know that, too. We are prepared for a LSU team that will be fresh and primed. There is a lot at stake for both teams. That is going to make it a special game, one I'll remember for a long time."

Nutt said the Hogs will retain the same rotation at quarterback with Zak Clark starting the game and Matt Jones coming off the bench. But, with Talley's injury, Cedric Cobbs might get his first start. The Hogs have looked at Brandon Holmes and Decori Birmingham at tailback to provide depth in case Talley can't play.


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