Houston Nutt didn't have anything new when he met with the media after Wednesday's morning workout on the status of Casey Dick. But that all changed as he walked to the locker rooms.
Assistant trainer Eric Linson greeted Nutt as he walked through the breeze way under the south end zone with what may turn out to be good news.
"Casey is back and already doing some exercises," Linson said. "He should be able to practice tonight and throw the ball."
Nutt had a big smile at that news, but he is still cautious in any thoughts about Dick's back injury. The head coach wants to see his sophomore quarterback practice on a daily basis.
"What we found out from the specialists and the therapists (in Little Rock) was that we were on target with our rehab over the last three months," Linson said. "We are doing the right things. They gave us some new exercises and said they would go well with what we were doing."
Linson said Dick's injury is similar to some that other Hogs are dealing with, but that those players don't have to make the throwing motion that stresses the back like a quarterback.
"He can throw and he can continue to do the rehab," Linson said. "He should be able to go through practice. We'll see what the back can stand, but he's getting well. He's going to try it tonight and continue to try it."
Nutt said that was good news. He is hopeful Dick can be in the mix as the Hogs continue preparations for a Sept. 2 date with Southern Cal, a big game that has changed the way the Hogs prepare for a season opener.
"We've never gotten into an opponent this early like we have for Southern Cal," Nutt said. "But we've never played a team like Southern Cal this early. We are looking at what they do already.
"We are getting into our two-minute offense and other things at this point. We are getting ready for a game. We are looking at situational things. We are going over substitutions. It's early, but we do have a lot of experience so I think this will work fine for our preparations."
Wednesday's practice was closed to everyone after the media was allowed to watch the first 20 minutes which is individual work.
"We had a good day," Nutt said. "Our team had good concentration. We are having a good preseason camp."
Weston Dacus, the Hogs' backup at all three linebacker posts, did not practice. But he said his ankle sprain is mending fast and he expects to return to workouts Monday.
"I think I could go now, but Coach (Reggie) Herring wants me to rest it until Monday," he said. "The swelling is about out now. It's doing fine. I think I might could go now, but Coach Herring does not want to aggravate it and cause a setback. I'm pleased with how it is coming back."
There was news on the big toe of tailback Darren McFadden. Plans are to remove the pin that stabilized a dislocation just over two weeks ago. That will be done Monday.
"He's doing great," said Danny Nutt, the running backs coach. "I think he is about where we wanted him to be. He's going to have some soreness for a couple or maybe three days after they take that pin out. But he's doing great."
When could he play?
"We don't know, but I think Vanderbilt," Nutt said. "I think yes, he could be back by Vanderbilt. That's what I'm shooting for and I think that is realistic."
Cornerback coach Bobby Allen said the early report on true freshman Jerrell Norton is good. Norton finally made it onto the practice field Tuesday night after getting clearance from the NCAA Clearing House on academics earlier in the day.
"He looks like he's going to be something pretty good," Allen said. "I think he's the real deal, change of direction and speed. He looked very good. Now it's time to teach him."
Norton will have to practice several days in shorts with no pads per NCAA rules on players starting practice.
The Hogs will practice again Wednesday night. It is closed to the public, as will be practices both Thursday and Friday.
Wednesday Morning Grid Update, 8/16
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