Thursday Grid Update, 9/7

Yet another player has moved to wide receiver this week. This time, it wasn't a quarterback. It was a defensive end.

The emergence of Antwain Robinson, Chris Wade and Malcolm Shepherd at defensive end allowed Anthony Brown to return to wide receiver, the position he played when Arkansas signed him in junior college.

That was the major development Thursday as Arkansas finished its heavy work for Saturday's game with Utah State with a one hour, 15-minute workout -- a workout which began with pre-game music blaring on speakers scattered just off the practice field.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Brown is "behind" at wide receiver, but that his "6-6 body would be valuable" as they move through the season.

"Shepherd has really made some strides," Nutt said. "We are going to use Anthony Brown on special teams. If he can stay healthy, we'll use him at wide receiver. What's tough right now is that he's behind at wide receiver."

Brown sustained a sprained knee in the first August scrimmage and has been slow to recover.

Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, looking for speed at defensive end, moved true freshman Shepherd to second team at both end spots and said he would play in both spots this week. Robinson is running first team at right end and Jamaal Anderson is first team on the left side.

"We have a couple of guys who performed well in the first game in our front four and that was Marcus Harrison and Antwain Robinson," said Tracy Rocker, defensive line coach. "Now, we've got to get Jamaal and Keith Jackson going at the same level. Shepherd played well and earned more snaps."

Brown took a red number 88 for practice Thursday with freshman Donnell Sanders taking his old white number 91 on the defensive side.

Nutt said the Hogs have practiced with urgency this week after their loss to USC. He said the things there are many things they have to improve against Utah State.

"We have to eliminate mistakes on offense, turnovers and penalties," he said. "We have to get lined up right and get the proper alignment on defense. We have to play hard and fast. We have to continue to play well in the kicking game and build on what we did in the first game there."

Nutt and quarterback coach Alex Wood both said Mitch Mustain had a solid week of practice as the new starter.

"Mitch did good this week," Nutt said. "He was very focused. We also got Casey Dick some reps and we'd like to get him in the game at quarterback this week."

Wood said, "It's been a good first week for Mitch. Obviously, he's coming along well. He's pretty cool for a freshman. He has taken all of this in stride."

Wood was asked about Mustain's challenge in the first week.

"It's me," Wood said. "I'm his challenge, to keep me happy. He's got to deal with me. To play the position, he has to study it. He's been exposed to a lot this week. I want to make sure he sees everything perfect. At the position he's at, he's at the height of exposure and there is pressure."

How does Wood think his quarterback has done so far?

"We'll evaluate him more as we go," he said. "Right now, all we have to go on is 12 plays. The jury is still out.

"He's a talented guy -- all of our quarterbacks are talented. He has a talented arm. He throws with great velocity and has been very accurate so far. Let's see if he can continue to be accurate."

How has Dick done this week as the backup?

"Casey is progressing," Wood said. "I think his back is fine now."

How much might Dick play against the Aggies?

"That's not my call, so no comment," Wood said.

Nutt said London Crawford had a good week of practice and might be in the rotation, as would Robert Johnson, another new wideout this week.

"London put back-to-back-to-back workouts," Nutt said. "Coach (Gus) Malzahn said he's getting lined up right. So we'll see about London this week. Robert has had a good week. He knows our system, our plays and our routes. We have confidence to play Robert this week."

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