Dacus Bids For Starting Role

FAYETTEVILLE -- Weston Dacus, who entered the season as Arkansas' top backup at all three linebacker spots, may have earned a battlefield promotion against Southern California.

Hogs defensive coordinator Reggie Herring won't name his starter at middle linebacker until Saturday morning, but Dacus appears to have a slight lead over Desmond Sims.

"You always like to hold a carrot out there," Herring said. "But there's a good chance Weston will start (against Utah State)."

Against USC, Dacus played all three linebacker positions and played on special teams, until he wore out. Herring has promised to leave him at middle linebacker this week.

"That's why our freshmen have to come on and play," Herring said. "Sam Olajubutu played 74 snaps (at weak-side linebacker)."

Dacus, a junior from Searcy, was limited by a high ankle sprain in preseason practice, but had vowed to make it back for the USC game.

Herring showed his defense film of Saturday's first half, in which the Hogs limited USC to 16 points and 173 yards despite poor field position.

"That first half is something we've got to build on," Herring said. "That was a thing of beauty. You won't find a better cover job than (cornerback) Chris Houston did. And (end) Antwain Robinson proved he could play at a high level. We ran out of steam in the second half, but we're not going to play the negative game around here."

Herring commended freshman defensive end Malcolm Sheppard for his play against the Trojans.

"He'll see a lot more playing time," Herring said. "He's an excellent freshman. He's second team right now on both sides."

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