Zack Snider and Jamaal Anderson were late and Michael Bibbs still awaits word from the NCAA Clearing House regarding his eligibility. That was the major news Saturday as Arkansas football players reported for their first meeting at the Broyles Center.
Snider, redshirt freshman from Tulsa, was excused from the start of the meeting to attend a wedding. Anderson, sophomore from Little Rock, had trouble with the alternator on his vehicle. Both are defensive ends. Bibbs, a true freshman, has yet to be ruled eligible by the NCAA.
At 2 p.m., the team was assembled in the team film room for three hours of briefings from various athletic department personnel regarding procedures and requirements. Head coach Houston Nutt was expected to give his first address to the team at around 5:30 p.m.
Physicals are set for Sunday, with the start of practice scheduled for Monday. Workouts will be closed. Media day is set for 8:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker was pleased with the way his group reported. He said it's clear all in his group had solid summers, led by defensive tackle Keith Jackson.
"Keith looks like a new player," Rocker said. "Now we get to see on the field if he is a new player. He's lost close to 30 pounds this summer. We know he's in better condition. We want to see him transfer that onto the field."
While all of the interior linemen on defense seemed to have shed pounds this summer, Rocker said the key will be how they handle their weight over the next few weeks.
"Will the gain it back?" he said. "Will they stay away from late-night junk food? Will they stay disciplined in their eating habits. It doesn't take long to change what they've done this summer. We'll see how they do."
Rocker said the focus this summer has been in team unity. It's been a major point of emphasis with the defensive line.
"I think it's been good and it's something we've always preached," Rocker said. "I know Coach Nutt preaches it. I think part of it is the fact that I've been here for awhile and know them and they know me. There had been a lot of change in the coaches up front. We have some continuity in that group now.
"But it's easy to be focused and united right now. I want to see where we are in a week and then in another week after that. We'll be banged up and bruised at that point. How will they hold together when that starts to happen?
"Right now, it's all good and we have a clean slate with every player. We'll see how close we are in another week. That will be the test."
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