Tuesday Grid Update, 9/26

An open date gave the Hogs a chance to rest some ailing players, including starting quarterback Mitch Mustain.

Mitch Mustain has a "fatigued" passing shoulder and the Arkansas quarterback took things a little slower on Tuesday as the Hogs went back to the practice field after two days off.

"I'm not in any pain, it's just fatigured," Mustain said Tuesday after watching much of the workout as the Hogs enjoyed an open date before the Oct. 7 trip to Auburn.

"It was fatigued (in the game Saturday) and I noticed on film that I was dropping to a three/quarter motion sometimes. That's obviously not a good thing to be doing too much."

Mustain said offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn also noticed the change in his mechanics during film study on Sunday.

"Coach Malzahn noticed it," Mustain said. "He asked me about it on Sunday. He saw that I had dropped down a little."

Backup Casey Dick got a lot of the throwing reps on Tuesday as the Hogs tried to rest Mustain's arm.

"Casey needed some work," head coach Houston Nutt said. "We are giving him more reps this week."

Malzahn said it was probably a case of Mustain getting a little too much work as they prepared for the last two games, Mustain's first in SEC play.

"We were trying to get him ready and he threw an awful lot in practice the last two weeks," Malzahn said. "The good news is that we have an open date this week. It's also good because we need to catchup some with Casey."

Mustain was asked if he was bored watching Tuesday.

"No, it actually was a very interesting day," he said. "It gave me a chance to watch and see some things from a different perspective."

The Hogs rested several other key players on Tuesday. Fullback Peyton Hillis jogged a few laps, then watched the rest of the workout. He may not practice much the rest of this week to get a thigh bruise healthy, but should be full speed when the Hogs get into game week with a Sunday workout.

Defensive end Marcus Harrison underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday. Nutt is hopeful Harrison can play against Auburn. Wide receiver Robert Johnson is scheduled to have the same surgery on Wednesday.

Wes Murphy did not practice because of a lower back strain. Darius Vinnett was also held out of the workout. Vinnett is battling back from knee surgery.

Mustain denied a rumor that his arm was sore after taking a hit early in the Alabama game on the area that had to be surgically repaired following a broken arm his junior season in high school.

Malzahn said he knew Mustain wasn't his normal self against Alabama because he underthrew two fade routes and missed another one long.

"Mitch doesn't do that," Malzahn said. "That's not like him. Not to make excuses, but I knew something was off with him."

However, Malzahn said there were other problems that had nothing to do with his sore arm. One of his three interceptions was a poor decision on a naked bootleg.

"That one, he has to just throw away," Malzahn said. "The end had been crashing and he went up the field on that one with the linebacker bouncing outside. Any way you look at it, he has to throw it away."

Malzahn said the Hogs had to do a better job of staying on the field, avoiding turnovers so that more weapons can be utilized.

"We'd like to get Felix Jones more touches," Malzahn said. "We'd like to get Michael Smith into the game. We want to get London Crawford the ball. It comes down to executing."

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