Wednesday Grid Update, 9/27

Arkansas worked in full pads Wednesday with some regulars taking a break because of some minor injuries or fatigue.

Casey Dick got the work in the team period at quarterback, but Mitch Mustain did go through a good portion of Wednesday's football practice despite a fatigued passing shoulder.

"Mitch is getting better," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said of the true freshman quarterback. "He even threw some today and did all of the run polish. Mitch threw in the first seven periods today. I think he'd tell you his arm is fine now."

Dick is the backup quarterback and benefitted from Mustain's scaled-back workouts the last two days to get a lot more snaps as the Hogs took advantage of an open date to rest a slew of injured players.

"We had a lot of players watching and gave some younger guys a lot of reps," Nutt said. "Sometimes you don't want an open date. You want to keep playing, but this open date came at a good time."

Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said he rested Sam Olajubutu and Weston Dacus, two starting linebackers, to give some young linebackers extra work.

"Sam has played what amounts to eight games in the first four," Herring said. "He is going to watch this week. Dacus has played four games with a high ankle sprain and we are resting him, too.

"We are giving a lot of work to Matt Hewitt, Anthony Brown, Adrian Davis and Wendell Davis. Those guys are getting better and you can tell the work is helping them."

Nutt said the Hogs gave tailback Darren McFadden the day off. The sophomore is battling tonsilitis. He had fever of 102 earlier in the day.

"If you are going to get something like that, this is the right week to get it," Nutt said.

Nutt said the Hogs will have a skeleton crew of coaches on hand Thursday as his staff fans out to recruit for a couple of days.

"We'll come back Sunday with a longer than usual practice," Nutt said. "It will be more like a normal practice than what we usually do on Sunday following a game."

Herring said the Alabama game was the first time the Hogs have been a force at both defensive end spots.

"Jamaal Anderson, for the first time, was like he finished last year," Herring said. "Not to make an excuse, but he had a hamstring pull before the USC game and he wasn't full speed. He's healthy now. He is back to where he was and can cut loose again. I think he'll be even better with a week of rest.

"Antwain Robinson was very good against Southern Cal, but then wasn't very consistent the next two weeks. He was more consistent this past game."

Herring had special praise for defensive tackle Ernest Mitchell. The sophomore got his first start against Alabama and graded out well.

"It was an incredible performance, really," Herring said. "Ernest hadn't shown what he was able to do in the game. He got penetration and he played well. We challenged him in front of the team and he responded. We had not seen the ability to penetrate that he gave us in the game."

Nutt said Marcus Harrison and Robert Johnson both are rehabbing after successful arthoscopic surgery for cartilage damage to their knees.

"They both had three sessions of rehab today," Nutt said. "They are both doing very well and working hard to get back."

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