Howard Reveals Secret Behind Career Day

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas fullback Brandon Kennedy has a game-day scowl that could slice through four inches of raw steel.

More importantly, it's what's going on behind the scowl. It can slice through 44 defenses like warm butter.

Just ask Hogs tailback De'Arrius Howard, who said the secret behind his career-high 125 rushing yards in Saturday's 24-21 win against Mississippi State was simply following Kennedy's No. 47 jersey through holes.

"It was him running for 125 yards, not me. I had the ball, but I was just following No. 47," Howard said. "He's more excited than I am when I score a touchdown. He's the one doing all the dirty work, so I feel like it's his yards and his touchdowns."

Howard said Kennedy (a 6-foot, 236-pounder) is more than just a lead blocker. He's actually more like having a coach on the field.

"He knows the game so well that he can be lined up during the game and he'll say, 'D, you see them coming? You see them coming? It's going to be a quick cut,'" Howard said. "When he comes out of the huddle, he's telling me exactly what it's going to be. He'll say, 'Look, we've got a wide (defensive end), so it's going to be a quick cut to the inside and I'm going to lead you. And he's always right on.

"It's amazing."

Kennedy has been the unsung hero in the Hogs' improved backfield the past few games heading into Friday's 1:30 p.m. kickoff against LSU in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium. He hasn't logged any rushing attempts, but has two receptions for seven yards and a touchdown.

"When somebody appreciates what you're doing, it just motivates you to block even better,' Kennedy said. "I don't worry about not getting any carries. As long as De'Arrius Howard or DeCori Birmingham gets their names out there and are successful, then I feel like I'm successful, too.

"We're trying to get to a bowl game so this ain't the time to be selfish."

Kennedy is selfish when it comes to his ferocious blocking. He wants to take a defender out on every play and leads the backfield with 22 knockdown blocks, mostly against linebackers his size or bigger.

"I guess that just runs in my blood," said Kennedy, a cousin of former Arkansas All-American and current Denver Broncos safety Kenoy Kennedy. "That's what Kenoy used to do here and I like doing it, too. That's just the dog mentality that I grew up with because I want to go out there and whup somebody every play."

Howard ended Saturday's game with a 37-yard run, his second longest this season, and said it was Kennedy who pointed him in the right direction well before the snap.

"He told me if they get back in this certain formation, it's going to be a tight play," Howard said. "So don't even stretch it (outside), go tight and that's exactly how it worked on that play.

"He don't get many carries, he don't get many balls thrown to him and that's why I tell him that every time I score, you score."

One More Time
For the umpteenth consecutive week, Hogs tight end Jared Hicks is having to try to get his sprained shoulder healthy enough to play on Friday. He missed both practices this week.

It's made for a tough season for Hicks, who first injured the shoulder while diving for a pass in the season opener and has aggravated it almost every game since.

After each outing, Hicks has missed practice time and spent countless hours in the training room getting treatment. But through all the pain, he hasn't missed a game.

"The most frustrating thing is not being out there with my teammates, not getting to do much with them most of the season, it's just real frustrating," Hicks said. "It seems like I haven't had a single practice all year where I haven't had some sort of ailment and it's been my shoulder all season."

Hicks is confident he can recover in time to play again this week and it is likely he'll need surgery to reconstruct the shoulder after the season.

"I think I can do it one more time," Hicks said. "I've got at least one more in me."

Personnel Issues
With Hicks questionable, Matt Gilbow has switched from tackle to tight end and even played there in the second half of Saturday's game at Mississippi State.

"Tight end is pretty much the same thing as tackle as far as blocking assignments go," Gilbow said. "They don't know if I can catch yet. I did my first catching drill (Monday) and only dropped one ball when I tried to catch it with one hand.

"I'm not worried about that, though. I'm just glad to be on the field, have a chance to play and help my team."

Senior Elliott Harris worked with the first-team Tuesday at noseguard, where sophomore Jeremy Harrell has started the last four games. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said moving Harris from defensive end to noseguard will give the defense more quickness in the middle.

"We're playing him a little bit at nose, just to see how it looks," Wommack said. "We're not really sure if he'll start, but we're just trying to get a little competition and a little bit more motivation going there."

Harris spent time early in his career playing on the interior defensive line so the switch is nothing new to him.

"At end, you have more space to work with and don't get double teamed as much as a noseguard," Harris said. "You've got about the same kind of keys and if you read your keys, you're going to be all right."

In addition, cornerback Matterral Richardson was not at practice Tuesday and was reportedly tending to personal matters in his hometown of Marlin, Texas.

Clarification On LSU Arkies
LSU didn't recruit the state of Arkansas much until last season when the Tigers signed Pulaski Academy linebacker Matt Stoltz and Stuttgart offensive lineman Brett Helms.

On the official statistics sheet from LSU, Stoltz is credited with seven tackles, including five assists in last week's 27-24 win against Ole Miss.

LSU sports information director Michael Bonnett confirmed Tuesday that Stoltz has not played a snap this season and is redshirting. The tackles should have been credited (and now will be) to linebacker E. J. Kuale, who like Stoltz dons No. 51 on game days.

Helms also is redshirting, but LSU coach Nick Saban said Monday that his redshirt could come off if the Tigers suffer another injury at either guard or center.

Jones Update
Hogs quarterback Matt Jones continued to nurse his strained hamstring -- jogging with a noticeable limp -- but still participated in most of the Hogs' individual and team drills during Tuesday's practice. He is expected to start Friday against LSU.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories