Herring: Hogs Won't Loaf Around

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas linebacker Pierre Brown picked up a valuable piece of information during the second day of spring practice.

"Evidently, I didn't know the definition of a loaf," Brown said.

But Brown and his defensive teammates might have a better idea after flopping up and down on the practice field for 15 agonizing minutes.

That's because the Razorbacks got a good indication of new defensive coordinator Reggie Herring's definition -- and the demands he'll place on them -- when he laid out his punishments for loafing Tuesday. The first-year coach added the times each player failed to practice at full speed Monday, posted it on a board and made the Hogs pay for what he saw as lackadaisical efforts at the end of practice.

Players were individually called to the front of the group, told how many times they loafed and informed that they let teammates down. After that, everyone jogged in place, flopped on their stomachs at the sound of a whistle and got up again.

Herring said he counted 140 loafs -- and 140 "up-downs" -- in all.

"I expected them because a lot of people a lot of times really don't understand what full speed is," Herring said. "That's what we're trying to get across to them and (Tuesday) was a step in that direction.

"We came back and made up for some of those loafs. That's probably the biggest thing that stood out the first day, the lack of tempo and the loafs."

Some players loafed as many as 10 times Monday and several more had seven to nine loafs to their names. A few were at the other end of the spectrum, completing the workout with zero, one or two loafs. But every defensive player experienced an equal dose of trembling forearms, burning lungs and throbbing legs.

Defensive tackle Keith Jackson admitted he was caught loafing eight times.

"That's a lot," Jackson said. "But I improved a lot (Tuesday). I saw it on the board and said, 'I've got to keep running. I've got to run faster than I've ever run so I won't have to get down tomorrow and get embarrassed by my whole team again.'"

Herring believes instilling that type of accountability and effort is an important step for a unit that finished near the bottom of the Southeastern Conference standings last season.

He said the Hogs' loaf total, which was calculated during the 11-on-11 portion of practice, was "not good." Herring expects no more than 10 loafs a game next fall and is pushing for just four or five.

It's a demanding, but achievable goal. Herring said there was a similar amount of loafing during his first day at North Carolina State last season. The Wolfpack defense gradually improved and became the nation's top-ranked unit (221.7 yards a game).

"It's just a way of life," Herring said. "We can sit here all day long and talk about X's and O's. If we don't play hard, we don't have a chance."

Jackson believes that point will sink in because Herring is planning to count Arkansas' loafs all spring. He's hoping the total number will be much lower when the Razorbacks return to the field for their first full pads practice Thursday.

Brown said that shouldn't be a problem after 15 painful minutes Tuesday.

"We're going to find out the definition and eliminate it from our vocabulary," Brown said. "We didn't look at it as punishment. That's on us. We got what we deserved."

Back in the Fold
Center Kyle Roper, free safety Randy Kelly and cornerback Michael Grant rejoined the team Tuesday after running into travel trouble in Atlanta.

Roper and Kelly said they were scheduled to leave at 6 p.m. Sunday, but were delayed for five hours before their flight was canceled. Roper said there weren't any available seats for flights Monday, so Tuesday was the earliest the trio could return.

Roper and Kelly found their way back in time to grab their helmets and return to the practice field. Coach Houston Nutt said Grant didn't make it back in time for Tuesday's workout, but was standing on the sidelines at the end of the afternoon.

"It wasn't too bad," Roper said. "I got to spend a lot of time with my family."

Johnson Injured
Offensive lineman James Johnson limped around the practice field Tuesday with a protective boot on his left foot. Johnson was injured during Monday's practice and Nutt said the Hog will X-ray the senior's foot to see if there are any broken bones.

"He's had so many problems with health," Nutt said. "It's going to be hard for him."

Johnson, who has played in 10 career games, missed the 2004 season after tearing a knee ligament during preseason drills.

In addition, senior left tackle Tony Ugoh and senior linebacker Clarke Moore missed Tuesday's workout. Nutt said Ugoh is splitting time between football and track this spring and missed his second consecutive practice. Nutt said Moore didn't participate because he was attending class.

Pro Day, Take Two
Arkansas will take a break today before returning to the practice field Thursday afternoon for its first full pads workout. In place of spring practice, the Razorbacks will hold their second on-campus pro day for NFL draft eligible players.

Huckeba, Harris, running back DeCori Birmingham and defensive tackle Arrion Dixon are some of the Hogs hoping to leave a lasting impression on scouts today.

Also, former quarterback Matt Jones is scheduled to attend the workout, but isn't planning to participate in speed and agility tests.

Jones was satisfied with his times at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and Arkansas' first on-campus workout March 16. Instead, he will likely participate in position specific drills for coaches and scouts in attendance.

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