Hogs Prepare for Three-Headed QB

FAYETTEVILLE -- In the Southeastern Conference, preparing to face two quarterbacks from the same team has become the norm.

However, trying to prepare for three quarterbacks, like Arkansas is doing this week before playing Ole Miss in Reynolds Razorback Stadium at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, is an anomaly.

Rebels' quarterbacks Ethan Flatt, Michael Spurlock and Robert Lane all have taken snaps during the past three games and each present different problems for opposing defenses.

"We've had to (prepare) for two before, but three's a little bit different," said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. "But the good thing about it is two of the three are similar. More running, sprint outs, quarterback draws, option. Flatt's more of the Eli (Manning)-type, throwing, play-action."

Flatt has started the last six games for the Rebels and is an efficient passer, completing 103 of 179 passes for 1,299 yards, 6 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. By "Eli-type", Nutt means that Flatt reminds him of the former Ole Miss quarterback, who's now a back-up for the New York Giants.

"He looks so much like Eli," Nutt said. "He's so similar. His mannerisms, just the way he gets under center and taking the ball, throwing motion. Of course, I haven't been around Eli for four years, but just from the untrained eye, just looking at Eli the last few years and now you put another guy in there, if he had a different number on, you'd think that's a young Eli."

Spurlock started the first two games of the season before inconsistent play led to Flatt taking over. He still has played in every game and is more of a dual-threat to run and pass, picking up 100 yards on 27 carries and completing 30 of 70 passes for 341 yards.

"You kind of don't know what to expect," said Hogs cornerback Darius Vinnett. "Which quarterback is going to be in. You just really don't know who they're going to put in first. You just have to go in the film room and study each guy individually."

Next in line is Lane, a powerful rushing quarterback who's come on the last few games with 112 yards on 21 carries. He was 5 of 9 for 52 yards and rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries in last week's 35-14 loss against Auburn.

"It's tough to prepare for three, but hopefully we'll find a way," said defensive end Jeb Huckeba. "Usually in the SEC there's two. But never three before. They've beaten some teams with that system so obviously it's working for them. You can watch film on all three different guys and they do have tendencies."

Freshman Build Up
Hogs rush end Jamaal Anderson has added nearly 25 pounds since he reported for two-a-day practices in early August.

Anderson, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound true freshman, is often the first defensive line reserve off the bench and has been used primarily in passing situations. He had two tackles, including one for a three-yard loss, at South Carolina.

"Before practice (Tuesday), he came up to me and said, 'Coach, look at my pants,'" said defensive coordinator Dave Wommack. "And I said, 'Yeah, they're kind of tight aren't they?' He said, 'Yeah, you should have seen them when I first got here.' I said, 'Yeah big boy, wait until next season.'

"He's a workaholic and you've got to love those guys."

Putting weight on during a season is virtually unheard of, but Anderson said he's done it with a steady protein diet.

"I was real light and knew I was going to have to gain some weight to play defensive end," said Anderson, who hopes to get up around 270 by next season. "I met with a nutritionist and he made sure that within 30 minutes after every workout, I ate at least half a plate of protein and that's why I've been able to gain all this weight."

Anderson, who's recorded at least one tackle in seven of eight games, had a season-high five tackles against Louisiana-Monroe. He's sixth on the team among defensive linemen with 15 stops.

"The thing about Jamaal is he's worked and worked," said defensive line coach Tracy Rocker. "He's doing everything off the field the right way and on the field, the game is starting to come to him a little more everyday.

"The upside with Jamaal is great."

Rebels Roughed Up
Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe said during a Wednesday teleconference that Rebels leading rusher Vashon Pearson likely won't start Saturday's game against Arkansas.

Vashon, who's rushed for 629 yards and 3 touchdowns on 126 carries,

Instead, Alan Abrams is expected to get the start at tailback. He has 212 yards on 44 carries and started the Auburn game as Pearson was benched the first quarter for disciplinary reasons.

"(Pearson) worked Monday, but he was not able to work (Tuesday) because he was sick," Cutcliffe said. "I expect him to be back out there. Right now, my thought process is Alan Abrams to start the game. Who rotates and how much just depends."

The offensive line isn't at full strength, but Cutcliffe said all of his starters should be ready to go on Saturday.

"We're just beat up," Cutcliffe said. "(Chris) Spencer is practicing with a leg injury and Tony Bonds with a shoulder. Bobby Harris and Tre Stallings with ankles and Doug Buckles with an arm problem. The only (starter) that's healthy is Marcus Johnson.

"But I do expect all of them to be available and play hopefully as close to 100 percent as we can be."

Buckles, who'll make his 36th career start Saturday, was hospitalized for two days with a staph infection in his elbow, but returned to practice Monday. Stallings is expected to make his 35th career start.

Grid Bits
John Johnson and Randy Kelly worked with the first-team defense again on Wednesday and appear to be the likely starters at husky and free safety against Ole Miss ... Arkansas receiver and kick returner Cedric Washington went down with an injury early in Wednesday's practice, but later returned. The initial prognosis is a bruised hip and Washington said it did cause him some pain while running routes after he returned ... Former Razorbacks quarterback Clint Stoerner will be available to meet with fans during a pre-game tailgate outside the stadium by SBC College Football Connection Tour ... Former Razorbacks linebacker Cliff Powell has been named as the honorary captain for Saturday's game.

STAFF WRITER ROBBIE NEISWANGER CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.

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