Monday Night Grid Update, 8/14

The Hogs got a chance to see what Casey Dick could do after a week of rehab for an injured back. The news was both good and bad for the sophomore quarterback in Monday's night practice. Please note, there is also a Monday morning practice update elsewhere on the site.

This may sound impossible, but Casey Dick was both encouraged and frustrated after Monday night's workout. The sophomore quarterback was encouraged that his injured back is improved enough for him to practice, but not well enough for him to complete a workout.

Dick went through several different periods and did make it all the way to the 11-on-11 part of the workout, but he went to the training room for treatment before the session ended. He had zip on the passes he attempted and also was accurate, completing most of them. But after about six solid throws in team, he bent over at the waist in discomfort as his back tightened and stiffened.

"It's better, it is," Dick said. "But it got tight tonight. So the trainers thought I should stop. I'm getting well. I'm doing the rehab and my back is getting stronger. I'm doing medicine ball drills and rubber band stretches with the back to strengthen it. It's going to take some more time, but it's at least good that I could throw tonight and I felt pretty good for awhile. I'm definitely not hurting. It just gets tight and I have to stop."

Head coach Houston Nutt sounded more frustrated, but he also said he was somewhat encouraged that Dick did work some Monday night.

"He got some good throws in and he was throwing it pretty good," Nutt said. "Some of those were really strong, some zip there, really was.

"(Trainer) Dean Weber said we'll get him back to 100 percent. I'm glad to see we had him back on the field for some work tonight. Now we can build on that."

Does Nutt think Dick is going to be fine?

"Well, we just don't know until we see more practices," Nutt said. "I just can't guess on this. It's early. We'll have to see tomorrow if he's sore and if he's better.

"What I do know is that we are better at quarterback. We've got three, I think, who are good players. We've got very good competition there. I like what I see from the quarterbacks, I really do."

There was bad news Monday. Wide receiver Cedric Logan and tight end Marcus Winston, both far down the depth chart apparently, announced they were transferring to UCA.

"I hate it, but the reality is that we are going to play the best, we are prejudiced towards the best," Nutt said. "We want players here who want to be here. I'm a little surprised, but I understand that they all feel they should be starting. That's the way of things nowadays, everyone thinks they should be starting."

Defensive end Anthony Brown did not practice and was limping on his injured knee. He may miss several days, but should be back for the season opener with Southern Cal. Tailback Michael Smith was back at practice, but not at full speed. He has an injured hamstring.

"It's not near like the one last year," Smith said. "I tested it for strength the night I hurt it and it was full strength. The doctors think it may be a nerve or something, but it's fine. My only problem tonight was that there is too much tape on it and it caused me to under stride. I'll get that fixed. I'm okay. I'm going to be fine. I'm actually excited because it's not really going to bother me."

Linebacker Weston Dacus did not practice and may miss two to three more workouts with a high ankle sprain that was termed minor by the coaches. Nutt said, "He's going to be back pretty quick and that's good. He's very valuable because he knows all three linebacker spots."

Freshman wide receiver London Crawford sustained what is believed to be a minor knee injury towards the end of the workout. Nutt said he didn't believe it was serious, but he did worry that he might miss a day of workouts.

But most of the consternation around Monday's workout centered on Dick, the player most suspected would be the starting quarterback when practices opened. He did not workout in the morning in the two-a-day situation. He did return for the evening, his first practice since this time last week.

"I just feel better because I could throw the ball tonight," Dick said. "I definitely feel better than last week. I just have to get back in the groove and I will get there. I could throw it fine."

After about 15 minutes of the team session Dick bent over trying to stretch his back. He appeared to be in some discomfort at the time, then went to the sideline to talk with trainers. He left for the training room soon after that with Mitch Mustain and Robert Johnson taking the rest of the snaps.

"The good news is that we are better at quarterback," Nutt said. "I see the quarterbacks doing good things. Mitch and Robert are better and Casey has looked good when he's been out there."

Nutt continues to like what he sees at wide receiver. He praised John Aaron Rees, noting "he's in the mix. He's very much in the mix. Rees knows all three wideout spots and he's going to help us. I left him out when I was talking about the receivers this morning and I shouldn't have. We have a good bunch and they keep getting better. Rod Coleman is getting better and better. He made plays this morning and made plays again tonight. He went over the middle and made plays. He's got that 40-inch vertical jump. You love it."

Secondary coach Louis Campbell is encouraged by what he sees in the competition at free safety where Michael Grant worked for the third day with the starters. Matt Hewitt, who also got three workouts as the starter, is impressing, too.

"What you love is that Grant stepped it up when we put Hewitt in front," Campbell said. "Grant improved 1,000 percent in the last five workouts. He responded immediately. He's practicing like a first teamer now. And, Hewitt is still playing well, too. I like our depth there a lot."

The Hogs will practice only once on Tuesday. It will be a 6:50 p.m. workout and will be closed to the public.

Please note, there is also an update from Monday morning elsewhere on this site.

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