Tuesday Grid Report, 11/15

With temperatures dropping into the 30s during the late afternoon, it was time to seek a warmer spot for football practice. Winds howled at 30 mph on a nasty day in Fayetteville.

On a cold, dark, blustery day in the Ozarks, Arkansas moved inside for a two-hour practice in full pads as the Hogs prepared for Saturday's trip to Little Rock to face Mississippi State.

Quarterback Casey Dick, the SEC's freshman offensive player of the week, worked on a limited basis because of the flu bug that has decked both him and roommate Marcus Shavers.

"Casey took some snaps in individual and handled some of the new stuff we put in during the team segment, but didn't do much today," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "He's got the flu. He took a shot today and took a lot of orange juice. We hope he'll be better on Wednesday and by the game."

Nutt indicated that most of the snaps were split between Robert Johnson and Alex Mortensen on Tuesday.

"We had a good day," Nutt said. "But we had a lot of guys out today. The flu is part of it, but we've got some guys banged up in the offensive line. Tony Ugoh, Stephen Parker and Kyle Roper couldn't do anything today. We think they will be fine by the game. We hope they get healed up."

Ugoh has an injured ankle. Roper and Parker both are bothered by knee injuries.

"Practice is always better when you win," Nutt said. "Attitudes are up and they were today. You could feel that today after a victory.

"But we know we will have a tough game Saturday. It will be the same type of game we've (had every year with Mississippi State). They are a real tough team, especially on defense. We expect a tough, close game."

Nutt said offensive guard Jeremy Harrell got a lot of snaps on the right side as Jonathon Luigs took Roper's snaps at center.

"Harrell did really well today," Nutt said. "You know what you are going to get with Jeremy. He plays with a lot of heart. He brings a spirit and energy to the field and he did today."

The Hogs welcomed back injured defensive end Zach Snider, out the last couple of weeks because of injury.

Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said the Hogs continue to improve daily in practice. He said effort and energy have been good the last several weeks. It's made for fun days on the practice field for the tough-minded Herring.

"Really, for about the last four or five weeks we've learned the importance of practice," Herring said. "So, yes, practices have been more pleasant because of that.

"I hope we continue to make a consistent climb in that area. Our defensive line has been building a tenacity and tougness, a pride, too. I didn't know they had that pride a while back. I think they have a larger sense of urgency, too.

"Because of that, we've made progress and gotten better. By no stretch of the imagination are we there yet, but we are getting there. I didn't know they had this in them.

"We are buying into the team concept. Because of that, they are doing what they need to do to be in the right postion to make plays. If you come to practice with great effort and have a consistent attitude and learn to compete, you can be a good defense."

This week's challenge, he said, is to play a tough-minded running team, a totally different theme than the last couple of weeks when the opposition thought pass first.

"This is a tough, physical team," Herring said. "They are a lot better running team than we faced the last two weeks.

"They have a very talented tailback. Jarious Norwood is, point blank, a tailback with first-round ability. He can cut on a dime. He plays in a spirited way. Even when blocking is not great, he'll make a great run. He has made some of the best 2-yard runs I've ever seen. He'll make something when there is no blocking. He'll be the key. Can we contain Norwood?

"The theme of this game will be whether we can get them in third and long. We can't be facing third and 2 each time. It's got to be third and long so we an mix it up and see if their quarterbacks can handle it.

"It will be a different ball game. Can we stop the run?"

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