Sunday Grid Update, 8/27

No one was ready to say they could play against Southern Cal, but Casey Dick and Darren McFadden are both coming along fine with their rehab. The Hogs had a good practice Sunday.

Casey Dick and Darren McFadden both were on the practice field, but Houston Nutt tried to make sure that no one expects them to play Saturday against Southern Cal at this point.

McFadden's presence was more of a surprise than Dick's presence in Sunday's light 35-minute workout. McFadden walked through some handoff repetition drills and played catch with assistant coach Danny Nutt.

Dick took some snaps with the backup unit on Sunday, but stepped away after only a couple of periods, Nutt said. Could Dick be on hand Saturday against Southern Cal on an emergency basis.

"I don't know, maybe," Nutt said. "We'll see how he feels the next day. He did take some snaps and he did throw for a few periods today. It's just part of the rehab that Dean Weber has him on. We want to see how it feels after throwing. We'll see what he can do later in the week.

"But he's not been out here. Robert Johnson is number one and Mitch Mustain is number two. Those are the two who have practiced."

McFadden is still a long way from playing, but he may not be so far away from practicing.

"Dean wants to get him out here for a couple of periods in the next few days and get him back into it," Nutt said. "He's gotten better. Right now, you see what he can do. He's on the sideline throwing and catching and moving around. Dean said it's time to give him a little more."

Indeed, there is no running involved with McFadden. But his rehab "is going very well," Nutt said.

Nutt said the Hogs had a nice rehearsal practice Saturday night. All access was shut off for the day with no media allowed before or after the practice. Sunday's practice was very light with some running after a short workout.

"We ran them afterwards," Nutt said. "We did some corrections at the start, then we had some kicking segments and then we got right into team. We had a good workout.

"Our players are focused and are concentrating. We are into game week and you can tell it. Our mental focus is very good. You could tell that Saturday and again today."

The Hogs will take Monday off to concentrate on afternoon labs. The NCAA makes each team take one day off per week, and that will be the mandated off time for the Hogs.

Freshman wideout London Crawford worked for the second straight day. Nutt said he'll be interested to see if he can come back for a third day on Tuesday.

"He's not been able to put a back-to-back-to-back stretch together this preseason yet," Nutt said. "He's made it two days in a row, but not three. Until I see him do that ... But he did fine today."

Nutt said linebacker Weston Dacus is still slowed by a high ankle sprain. He did not practice Sunday and will try to return on Tuesday.

Nutt said the overall mood of the team is very good.

"You can tell they are excited," Nutt said. "I remember when we put the clock up in here where it counted downs the days to the (USC) kickoff. It was about 50 when it started. Suddenly, it's six. We are excited and our players want to play. We are there mentally and physically."

That was obvious in talking to tailback Felix Jones.

"I've been thinking about this game for a long time," Jones said. "We were humiliated in every way last year. I remember wanting to play them because they are the best and you want to find out what you can do against the best. Then the game came and what happened was humiliation.

"You probably didn't think about playing them every week as we played other teams. But it never left my mind. I knew this game was going to happen this year. I was glad they moved it to the first game. I wanted it to be first.

"It was a horrible experience. I took it personally. The entire team took it personally. It's been something that we've pulled together to work for and be ready for."

Jones said he took it personally, but Saturday night won't be a personal situation.

"This game will not be about me," he said. "I'm starting, but it's not about me. It's about this team. That's the thing everyone else will say, too. The chemistry has been so good. It's a team thing as you can see."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories