Snider Earns Spring Promotion

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas redshirt freshman Zach Snider said he's used to working hard because his father is a high school football coach.

But Snider admits there was no way to get used to the constant banging, pounding and crashing that goes along with playing his new position, defensive end.

"I look up and down my arms and they're all bruised up every day after practice," Snider said. "I'm still getting used to that."

The added physical demands haven't stopped the 6-foot-3, 234-pound Snider, a former linebacker, from moving ahead of sophomore Jamaal Anderson on the spring depth chart at right defensive end.

The Jenks, Okla., native worked with the first-team defense Monday and position coach Tracy Rocker said Snider earned the promotion because of his hard work.

"I think right now, he's playing harder than Jamaal Anderson and I think that's where we are," Rocker said. "He's practicing harder. He's playing harder. At this point in time I feel good about it and we're going to see what happens."

Snider, along with fellow former linebacker-turned-defensive end Desmond Sims, has earned praise because of his speed, tenacity and willingness to embrace a new position. Neither came to Arkansas as defensive ends, but were moved by new defensive coordinator Reggie Herring and have been spring surprises.

Snider, who is confident it was a good move, played outside linebacker in a system that positioned him near the line of scrimmage at Union (Okla.) High in 2003. But Snider quickly learned it was nothing like butting helmets with 300-pound offensive linemen on every down.

"It's tough," Snider said. "The offensive linemen, it's every play you're hitting them and hitting them and hitting them. Once I get used to that, I'll be all right."

Snider refuses to consider Anderson a "second string" defensive end despite his recent promotion and continues to learn valuable pointers from his teammate.

Snider said he won't get caught up in his first-team status, but admits he's "pumped" to know Rocker has noticed his effort.

"The thing about Zach Snider to me, as a coach, as well as any other coach out here is that he's trying to play hard," Rocker said. "That's the enjoyable part.

"He makes some mistakes here and there, but he plays hard and he wants to get better."

O-Line Gaining Strength

Arkansas' injury-plagued offensive line returned to seven scholarship players Monday when guard Jonathan Luigs made it through the entire workout and tackle Matt Gilbow returned as a partial participant.

Luigs was sidelined most of last week after sustaining a punctured and lacerated right calf. He returned to non-contact work Friday, got in a few snaps during Saturday's 20-play scrimmage and was back to full speed Monday.

Gilbow, who started two games at right tackle last season, was sidelined last Tuesday after spraining his knee. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said the sophomore tried "awfully hard" Monday and should be back to full speed this week.

"That really helps out things on the offensive line," Nutt said about Luigs and Gilbow. "It did help. We had more than five, that's for sure."

Bledsoe, Pressley Still Out

The Razorbacks still are waiting for guard Chase Pressley and defensive tackle Fred Bledsoe to return to practice.

Both remained sidelined after sustaining concussions earlier this spring.

"Any time you have a concussion it's hard," Nutt said. "I let (trainers) Eric (Linson) and Dean (Weber) make the decision. It's hard to rush that. When they still have headaches, it's real dangerous to do that. They're still having headaches."

Nutt said he was impressed with a handful of banged-up players -- defensive tackle Marcus Harrison (ankle), free safety Randy Kelly (ankle) and guard Tyler Morgan (groin) -- who battled through Monday's practice despite nagging injuries.

"I'm really appreciative of the effort those guys are showing when they're hurt a little bit," Nutt said.

Final Week

Arkansas will practice Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week before wrapping up spring practice with Saturday's Red and White scrimmage.

Nutt said the spring-ending scrimmage, which begins at 11:30 a.m. and is free and open to the public, will be scaled back because of the numerous injuries to offensive linemen. But the Razorbacks still are hoping to get between 50 and 60 plays in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"We'll keep the same format," Nutt said. "It will be very good though. We're going to get a lot of good hitting in. We're going to get some good kicking in, have a little bit of a pass skeleton early on and then put it down and play."

The Red and White scrimmage is part of RazorFest, which is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and last all afternoon. Events include live entertainment, autograph sessions and a 7-on-7 game featuring former Razorbacks.

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