For what seems like the only time on a Wednesday this season, more of the University of Arkansas' injured players looked more likely to play than not.
Starting center Kyle Roper, starting wideout Cedric Washington, the versatile Peyton Hills and kicker Brian Vavra - all battle through maladies this Wednesday and look ready to be on the field for Saturday's key SEC matchup with visiting Auburn (4-1).
That comes at a time when the Razorbacks (2-3) are practicing with a great degree of intensity after getting back on the winning track last week.
"It has been very intense and our guys understand the caliber of team they are playing," UA head coach Houston Nutt said. "They know how tough Auburn is - they can see film, they can watch and see why they have won their last 12 or 13 SEC games. Intensity has gone up a level."
Roper and Washington both missed last week's game, but are expected to be back to help pick up the offense this week.
"They continue to get better," Nutt said. "Washington is further ahead and he is going to be fine. Murphy we held out today although he walked through a few things. Roper got about a half a team team. I'm expecting them to be okay. I won't know on Roper until probably game time, but he is acting like he is trying to get there. It's encouraging."
Hillis was bothered by headaches during the workout according to Nutt.
"He had some headaches and dizziness today," Nutt said. "He did a good job pushing through it. (UA head trainer) Dean (Weber) watched him pretty close and didn't think he was too, too bad that he couldn't get through it. I don't think it is from being hit in the head."
That did mean that UA true freshman wideout Reggie Fish got all the punt return work.
"He is getting more and more at wideout and we are really starting to trust him," Nutt said. "He got all the punt return because Peyton couldn't do that and he looked good."
Nutt said he has been real pleased with his team's concentration this week and how it seems ready to meet the challenge.
"We had good concentration and that is what it is going to take on every play," Nutt said. "They have got a great defense. But again I am more concerned about our guys taking the first step, knowing who to block and defensively stopping their run. They will try to take some chances with their big wideouts, but if you stop that run, you have got a real chance.
"Special teams have also got to play a big role," Nutt added. "They also have good kickoff return team and a good punt return team so we have got to be really, really special in the special teams department. It is going to take every phase and everybody on that sideline to win this ballgame."
Nutt expects a smashmouth game.
"I think it will be, I really do," Nutt said. "I just want to keep the ball and you do that by executing and you have got to do it against real speed. Their linebackers are very, very, experienced, very fast, they move and make plays. We have to play with our quickest, quickest steps."
Wednesday Grid Report, 10/12
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