Saturday AM Grid Report, 8/14

Arkansas prepared for a major afternoon scrimmage with a 90-minute Saturday morning workout as the start of two-a-days arrived.

Fred Bledsoe is fine. The MRI found everything to be fine in the knee that he tweaked the last two days. It was a "clean" MRI and he is fine. Tracy Rocker said, "Fred is doing great. I just need to get his wind up where it ought to be and then you'll see great things. His knee is fine."

Brandon Kennedy's broken pinky finger was set in a cast and he'll be out from 10 to 14 days. It's the same type injury that Jimarr Gallon had last year.

"I don't want to say anything bad about Jimarr, but Brandon is very, very tough and I don't think this will keep him out very long," Houston Nutt said. "He wants to be back out here and he's had a great summer and a great camp. This won't be a setback for Brandon."

The morning practice Saturday was "excellent," according to all coaches. It was a prep for a major scrimmage set for Saturday afternoon. The afternoon workout will begin at 3:30 p.m. with the scrimmage some 20 to 30 minutes later.

Line coach Mike Markuson said the battle at left guard between Robert Felton and Stephen Parker has been intense and exciting.

"It's nip and tuck," Markuson said. "They are both doing great things. Stephen Parker is going to fool around and get him one."

The "one" Markuson referenced would be a scholarship. He said Parker isn't letting up and is putting real heat on Felton. He said both should be able to help the Hogs this season.

Markuson is pleased with Cody Green, a true freshman, at right guard. Green stung a shoulder joint in Friday's workout, but seemed fine on Saturday morning.

"We've got some good things going on with our backups in the line," Markuson said. "Nate Garner is doing well. I like what I see from Tyler Morgan and Skye Peterson at center. Tyler didn't get the snap up high enough yesterday, but we got that fixed. Tyler is doing some good things. Skye has really picked it up. His fundamentals weren't good when he got here this spring and he's improved that area. It looks like he is going to be able to play at this level."

Tight end coach Clifton Ealy likes the battle for the second spot behind Jared Hicks between Mason Templeton and Payne Hall.

"Mason missed spring (with an ankle sprain) and was behind Payne coming in this fall, but it's about to even up now," Ealy said. "Mason is up to 270, although it doesn't look like he's as big as Payne because he's 6-7. Payne seems bigger at 6-4 and 240. But, Mason has learned to use his leverage and stay low. He's not getting pushed around in the one-on-one drills. He's holding his own which tells you his blocking is much better than last year.

"This is an imporant stretch for both Mason and Payne. We need them to come on and be able to help us. We'd like to use two and even three tight ends with what we like to do. They are showing us they can contribute this year."

The Hogs have two more freshmen tight ends, Marc Winston and recruited walkon Lance Thompson. Houston Nutt and Clifton Ealy have raved about Winston's work earlier in fall practice. Ealy said the Hogs like Thompson, too.

"Lance is going to help us down the line," Ealy said. "He's got the tools. He's still learning our system. That takes time. I like what he's been doing, though."

Line coach Tracy Rocker continued to applaud the work of his deep group on the defensive front.

"We've got some good competition going on there," he said. "What pleases me is the willingness to work. As long as they work like they've been working, we will be fine.

"We are going to get some help from that second group this year. Guys like Reggie Banks and Chase Pressley are really doing well. Pressley has really had some good workouts.

"What they have to learn and it appears they are learning it, is that they have to give me about 90 plays a day at the same level. The first to the last has to be the same. If they can do that, they've got it. That's what playing in the line is all about. They have to grind through it and be consistent. I like what I'm seeing right now."


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