The biggest news to come out of the University of Arkansas' Friday morning practice that official started two-a-days was about a player who wasn't even there.
Sophomore Casey Dick, who started the last four games of the 2005 season, missed his fourth straight day of workouts and Razorback head coach Houston Nutt said it was time to get an MRI.
"We went ahead and I think Dean got me an MRI this morning and X-ray and just double checking some things," Nutt said. "It is probably a sore than what we anticipated after a day or two. So we are just going to be cautionary and check it out and hopefully everything will be okay."
Nutt said he would love to have Dick be available for Saturday night's scrimmage.
"I still have high hopes, wouldn't hit him, but I hope he can get a few snaps in, " said Nutt, whose team practiced for 90 minutes on Friday morning and will return to the field for a 6:50 p.m. workout tonight.
Dick's absence from practice has certainly allowed true freshman Mitch Mustain and redshirt junior Robert Johnson – who started the first seven games last season – to get a lot more reps than they would have normally.
"They both realize that every practice is important to them, especially with Casey not here right now," Nutt said. "We will just keep going right how with the two that we have and see what happens."
Dick wasn't the only player who missed Friday morning's work with starting middle linebacker Desmond Sims, safety Elston Forte, freshman linebacker Ryan Powers and deep snapper Brett Goode – who were all taking summer school finals.
Powers and fellow freshman Chip Gregory both were injured in Thursday's practice while starting cornerback Chris Houston – who was suffering the lingering effects of a concussion on Thursday – returned to practice on Friday morning.
"He (Chris Houston) brings a toughness, a real tough attitude and he is so fast," Nutt said. "I think (freshman wideout) Damian (Williams) found that out the first day. He is just a one year older, more experienced and playing with a high level of confidence. That is the one thing I would characterize about Chris Houston right now – a high level of confidence. That's important when you are out there by yourself sometimes."
Senior cornerback Darius Vinnett did sit out Friday morning's work.
"Everybody should be back this afternoon except for Casey and we will see how Chip Gregory is – we might tape him up and tell him to come on" Nutt said.
Nutt did say he doesn't expect to see Powers or redshirt freshman tailback Michael Smith back until Monday.
"We had a good, good crisp practice today and hit a lot of kicking situations," Nutt said. "We hit about all of them and worked hard on that. We also had a real good emphasis on protection, run defense and working on some different fire zones.
"Then we came together and I thought we just had some real good work," Nutt said. "The concentration was real good. But now this is the first day of two-a-days so let's see which ones are going to feel sorry for themselves this afternoon."
Michael Grant took back his first-team free safety spot from Matt Hewitt in Friday's workout while Zac Tubbs was back and running first-team right tackle with Nate Garner backing him up – the opposite of how things were on Thursday.
"Michael Grant was back on the first team today and that will be ongoing," Nutt said. "It is good. There is nothing like competition where everybody is having to work every day to get their spot.
All of the players are no doubt looking forward to Saturday's scrimmage, which is slated to begin at 6:40 p.m.
"We want to see how far these guys have come as far as alignment and assignment, who is going to fight through a little injury, who is going to execute and who is going to know what to do and do it fast and who is going to be our playmakers." Nutt said. "That doesn't matter if it is a quarterback or receiver or a linebacker or a defensive end.
"It will be the start of where we will really grade hard and really start lining people up," Nutt added. "…I think it is very huge for everyone."
Nutt's plan is to have a walk through practice on Saturday morning and then come back for the scrimmage.
Running backs Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis and wideout Marcus Monk will be donning green jerseys along with the quarterbacks.
"We will have some kicking situations starting out and put the kickers on the spot because they are also being evaluated," Nutt said. "Then it's going to be basically let's put the ball down and let's play. I am going to try and get 30 plays for the ones and then go from there."
Friday Morning Grid Report, 8/11
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