UA Wide Receivers Feeling The Changes

FAYETTEVILLE -- Reggie Fish walked off the practice field with a slight limp, and Marcus Monk also felt some soreness in his legs.

It was apparent on the day after Arkansas held its first spring football practice that the team's wide receivers are already feeling the changes in the offense.

"We've been running a lot. It's just different," Monk said following Tuesday's two-hour practice in shorts and helmets. "It's just new to our bodies right now, but we've just got to work our bodies and get back into football shape.

"It's just a grind, and that's what spring is supposed to be."

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said he noticed that the wide receivers looked sore a day after new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn -- who also coaches the position -- had them running a lot of passing drills. Freshman flanker Rod Coleman suffered a slight pulled hamstring, Nutt said.

"It's just natural," Nutt said. "They're trying awfully hard, and (they've) got to take care of themselves because we want them to stay on the field 15 times (for spring practices)."

Monk said that Malzahn is a perfectionist when it comes to route-running. But it was apparent early in Tuesday's practice that there might be some problems with the wide receivers.

"It was obvious when we came out and threw our fade (passes) early on, the guys were a lot slower than they were yesterday," backup quarterback Alex Mortensen said. "That's just what happens when guys go off on spring break."

But the wide receivers will get a chance to rest their sore legs today. Players will have the day off before returning to practice Thursday.

Herring Anxious For Defense To Put Pads On
Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring was not about to praise his players too much for what he has seen over the first two days of spring practices.

Even though Nutt admits that the defense is further along than the offense, Herring wants to hold off judgment until Thursday when the team holds its first practice in pads.

"In all honesty, Thursday will be a better indication because you don't golf in the nude and you play football with pads," Herring said. "So the bottom line is we'll find out Thursday because we put the pads on."

Herring admits he has been impressed at least early on with how defensive end Jamaal Anderson has practiced and how middle linebacker Desmond Sims has adjusted to making the move from defensive end.

"Desmond Sims, so far assignment-wise, has been excellent. He looks like he's been there (at middle linebacker) the whole time, assignment-wise, competing," Herring said. "That's going to be interesting when we get the pads on, and is he going to be what he looks like in shorts?"

But Herring said he still has concerns at safety, and he made his players do up-and-down drills after practice as punishment for being lackadaisical at times during Monday's first practice.

Campbell Enjoys Return To Sidelines
After spending nine years as Arkansas' director of football operations, Louis Campbell admits he's glad to be back on the sidelines as the team's secondary coach.

Campbell is working specifically with the safeties, which Chris Vaughn did last year before Nutt made him his full-time recruiting coordinator.

Being a former longtime assistant coach, Campbell said he has welcomed the reassignment. He added that he has felt "good" during the first two days of practice.

"I think when you're a coach, you're always a coach," Campbell said. "You don't coach for 25 or 30 years and then just do away with it and not miss it. So there is always a part of you that wants to go out there and coach and always do that."

Former UA Hoops Star Returns For Football
Tuesday's practice was open to the public, and former Arkansas basketball standout Joe Kleine was among the around 100 fans who came out to watch the team on a clear day.

"I just love Razorback football," said Kleine, who was taken with the sixth pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. "I'm like everybody else, I'm a fan."

The 44-year-old Kleine, who played center at Arkansas from 1983-85, lives in Little Rock and owns several Corky's barbecue restaurants.

So what did Kleine think of what he saw from Arkansas' basketball team this year?

"I thought they had a good year. I thought they improved again," Kleine said. "They've improved every year. If they continue to do that, they're going to be really good."

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