Arkansas worked for two hours in helmets, shoulders pads and shorts, then shed the shoulder pads to run a series of 100-yard gassers as the varsity finished its first football practice of the fall.
"It was a real good first practice," said Houston Nutt, the UA head coach. "There was a lot of enthusiasm, as you'd expect at this point.
"The younger guys got big big eyes as the older guys were added to the workout. Things went a little quicker and some of them probably thought they were hearing spanish in the huddle because a few things were added that they hadn't been taught yet.
"The offensive line and the defensive line looked quick and sharp. I thought that first group in the offensive line was especially quick, and I liked what I saw from the defensive line ... guys like Raymond House, and Jermaine Brooks and the rest of them on that side of the ball."
Matt Jones started the morning work during fundamental work with the quarterbacks, but moved to wide receiver when the throwing began.
"It went just how we thought it would go, and Matt got some good work with the quarterbacks at the start," Nutt said. "He might not have got as many reps at wide receiver because right now we are looking at some of the newcomers there, too, and the lines are long. We gave Michael Coe and David Thompson a lot of work at wideout today."
James Shibest, the wide receiver coach, said his lines were long, but that it was a good morning workout.
"We had a good day," Shibest said. "I thought they all looked good. I thought Sparky Hamilton had a good day. He appeared to me to pick up where he left off last spring. He finished spring strong and he looks ready to go to me. We need a big year from him and his confidence is good right now."
Defensive end Keith Turner practiced with a foam rubber pad around a cast on his injured right thumb. Turner, who sat out football last year, has a cracked thumb. It should not be a problem.
"He did it several weeks back and it's about healed," Nutt said. "He'll have the cast for a couple more weeks. So far, he's not had any trouble with it, and he reported in great physical shape. He is running well."
Jermaine Brooks, senior defensive tackle, said his shoulder felt fine, but his top critic wasn't so sure.
"My girl friend, Auburn, was out watching today, and she said I favored it," Brooks said. "She may be right. I know I'm a little rusty. She knows me pretty well. She lets me have it if I'm not doing something right. She is my worst critic. I have fun listening to her tell me about how I've played. I like it.
"I think we had a good first day, but what do you expect. It's going to be good on the first day. I think our attitude is good and we are in good condition. It was really exciting today. But, ask me after Saturday's workout in the evening. That will be after six workouts, and we'll see how we look then. We'll be tired by then and we'll see if we still are excited. I know that's the test ... after about six workouts. I've been here before.
"It was good to be back out here. It's been seven months since I've practiced and I was rusty, like I said. But, my shoulder is strong, and I feel good. I'm just trying to get my footwork back."
As far as the gassers, no one seemed to struggle, and all made their appointed times. It appeared that tight end Jason Peters was in wonderful condition, and led way in his portion of the running. As far as the freshman, the only ones who seemed to struggle were 357-pound Zac Tubbs and Lucas Jackson. Both had trouble with the gassers.
"I'd love Zac at 340," said Mike Markuson. "We'll get him there. He's too heavy right now, but he has the feet and the athletic ability if we can just get about 15 pounds off of him. He will be fine."
The quarterbacks work on mechanics during the early phases of the workout.
Mike Markuson supervises his offensive line candidates.
Houston Nutt talks to his squad about pushing themselves during gassers.
The Hogs ran plenty of 100-yard sprints after their morning workout.
Squad members prepare to run gassers after Thursday's workout.
Josh Melton and the first offensive line looked quick and sharp Thursday.
Keith Turner, with cast on a cracked thumb, visits with a media member after Thursday's workout.
Photos by Clay Henry