Thursday Grid Update, 11/17

Will Kyle Roper be able to play against Mississippi State? The verdict is still out.

Jonathon Luigs will start at center and Jeremy Harrell at right guard when Arkansas plays host to Mississippi State on Saturday in Little Rock. Tony Ugoh and Stephen Parker, nursing minor injuries, practiced most of the week and will take their regular starting spots in the offensive line.

That was the news as Arkansas finished the heavy part of preparations Thursday inside Walker Pavilion. Head coach Houston Nutt said center Kyle Roper may be available, but would not start after sitting out all work this week.

"He may be ready, but we won't know that until game time," said Mike Markuson, offensive line coach. "Kyle will just have to see what he can do in pre-game. We do some heavy stuff in pre-game. We hit with the defensive line and really loosen up the pads. We'll know then.

"But, it's been my experience that when you go against a physical front like Mississippi State, you probably can't do much in the game if you weren't able to practice one day during the week. We are planning to go without Kyle because of that.

"Luigs and Harrell have done well this week. Harrell is an eager beaver. He has a lot of energy and brings a lot to our front as far as effort and intensity. He is making mistakes, but he's getting better and learning as he goes. I know he will play hard. I don't worry about that.

"Ugoh and Parker have had good weeks. We haven't asked them to do everything, but they've taken the majority of the snaps. They seem to be moving pretty well and have done fine. They'll start."

Houston Nutt said that both Fred Bledsoe and Jamar Love, disciplined and not on the trip last week, would travel with the team this week. Both hail from the Little Rock area.

"They've done what we've asked them to do and they will be with us," Nutt said. He did not indicate if either would be available to play in the game.

The Hogs worked the final 30 minutes of the workout with loud music blaring from the speakers in Walker Pavilion to simulate crowd noise. All tickets for Saturday's game in War Memorial Stadium have been sold.

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