Offensive Line Looking To Pass Test

FAYETTEVILLE -- After watching Arkansas' 24-13 loss at Alabama a little less than two weeks ago, it appeared the offensive line was coming along further in run blocking than it was in the pass blocking department.

According to Razorbacks' players and coaches who deal with the trenchwork every day, though, the Hogs don't need to focus on one more than the other just yet.

"We got hit in the back twice (pass blocking) in that last game and they were both mental errors," said Arkansas offensive line coach Mike Markuson. "We've corrected them and hopefully they won't happen again."

Through four games, the Razorbacks have had more success running the ball rather than passing it. But the Alabama loss was the first sign of struggles protecting the quarterbacks on pass plays.

With Louisiana-Monroe next up and two weeks to work on the mistakes, Arkansas hopes to improve in the passing department, with the help of the men up front of course.

"We've had to work on a lot of stuff," said center Kyle Roper. "But we've got it straightened out and I think and it should be better for us."

Roper said the focus hasn't necessarily been on pass blocking the last couple of weeks. Just improving as a whole.

"It's one of those things that we've worked on it a good bit," Roper said. "But we haven't changed the way we've practiced. We kept it the same, just when we're in pass protection and working on that, we're just trying to focus a little more."

Brown Learning New Trade Well
First Pierre Brown had to adjust to being on the bench with a knee injury. Now, after coming back from his time off, Brown is adjusting in a new way.

After being moved from middle linebacker to strong side backer earlier this year, Brown is heading back to his original middle position.

And so far, the move is going fairly well.

"It seems like it's been five months (since I played middle linebacker)," Brown said. "It's been showing at practice throughout this past week just a little bit. The timing is a little off right now, but things will be fine."

Brown believes the two linebacker spots are different in a few small ways. But with time, he fully expects to return to his normal ways at his somewhat new position.

"I'm having to change my train of thoughts on a few things," Brown said. "A few plays are a little different. I have different responsibilities on certain plays than I had when I was playing strongside linebacker.

"But, like I said, it's football. He (coach Reggie Herring) gave us a playbook. Look at your playbook, watch film, come out to work. That's about the gist of it."

Ready To Go
Sometimes a bye week can come at the most perfect time. In other cases, the time off is not always met with open arms.

While the Razorbacks were glad to have a week off the heal some bumps and bruises, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said the layoff is also difficult coming off a loss.

"The thing about a bye week when you lose, sometimes it's hard," Nutt said. "You want to come back and you want to do well.

"So I think that's why we did well today in practice."

New Tradition
Arkansas players will visit the Easter Seals Children's Rehabilitation Center in Little Rock today. And according to sports information director Kevin Trainor, the trip has become an annual event.

"It's kind of become a tradition with the first game in Little Rock," Trainor said. "They'll go the Children's Center at 2:15 and then head over to War Memorial for a walk-through."

Starting A New Streak
For the longest time after Nutt took over as coach, it looked like the Razorbacks would never again lose a game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. Under Nutt, Arkansas won 17 games in a row at War Memorial between 1998 and 2005.

Last season's 43-14 loss against LSU, though, put an end to the winning streak.

The Hogs now look to improve to 18-1 under Nutt in Little Rock against ULM on Saturday.

Injury Report
Good news on the Arkansas injury front as defensive lineman Marcus Harrison (leg) returned to practice Thursday and looks ready to go for Saturday's game.

"He (Marcus) had a good day today (Thursday)," Nutt said. "He really came back and that's the thing I really appreciate about these players is the way they've come back.

"He had one of his better days today."

Freshman defensive end Zac Snider continues to be bothered by a mild concussion, but is improving.

"A concussion, that's a delicate issue," Nutt said. "If he gets hit just right, then the headaches come back, so (head trainor) Dean (Weber) really has to monitor him closely. But we're hoping he's going to be okay."

While Harrison returned to workouts, wide receiver Cedric Washington (hamstring) was held out of practice Thursday, although Nutt still expects Washington back in time for Saturday's game.

"I think he'll be OK," Nutt said. "He's got a slightly pulled hamstring, but I think he'll be ready to play."

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