Thursday Morning Grid Report, 8/22

Houston Nutt said the report was good after Josh Melton's knee surgery, but the Hogs are making plans to go without the big senior.

Arkansas worked on correcting mistakes from Wednesday's scrimmage in a shortened padless workout Thursday morning in Walker Pavilion.

"The film looked good," Houston Nutt said. "I don't think we are there quite yet, but we are close. I liked what I saw from the defense. In watching the film, they were flying to the ball. You could really see that. The tackling was good, as it's been all fall."

Nutt said center Dan Doughty graded out in solid fashion after taking over work with the first unit after Josh Melton's knee surgery.

"Dan didn't have many busts," Nutt said. "He executed the snap and got his assignments. I was pleased with the way he performed with Josh out."

Nutt said Melton's arthscopic knee surgery was successful.

"They took out some cartilage and cleaned it up," Nutt said. "They found some crud in there underneath and they cleaned that out. It's probably from an old injury. He's already into the rehab today. We don't expect him to be out long."

However, the Hogs are preparing for the season as if Melton will not return in time for the opener.

"That's the way you've got to go at it," Nutt said. "Dan Doughty can do it, and we think Kyle Roper can, too.

"But, we are moving Nathan Ball to center at this point. He took snaps today and we are going to give him some work there. We want to see what he can do. We know he's been in SEC games and done everything we've asked. Right now, we are asking him to move to center."

Backfield coach Danny Nutt said he was pleased with the work of his running backs in the scrimmage.

"Brandon Holmes made two nice cuts on running plays at tailback," Danny Nutt said. "De'Arrius Howard just flat ran over someone. He is looking really good."

Nutt kept freshman fullback Brandon Kennedy after practice to polish his assignments.

"Brandon Kennedy is one tough player and he's going to help us this year, so we better give him some extra to get him up on all the plays," Danny Nutt said. "We are making sure he knows where the linebacker is going to be in the different alignments, and that he knows all the checks. There is a lot to learn."

Nutt said the only true fumble in Wednesday's scrimmage was Kennedy's fault. He bumped into Tarvaris Jackson while the quarterback was reaching for a handoff.

"We wanted Brandon to slide along the line in a shuffle, but he's got to get past the quarterback and the other back first, and he was too slow," Nutt said. "We worked on that today. It's a timing thing, but that fumble was his fault. He wasn't going to carry the ball, but he bumped the quarterback and knocked the ball loose. The other fumble wasn't a fumble. Mark Pierce went over the top and crossed the plane of the goal line. The play was dead at that point, and the ball came out when he landed. The ground can't cause it and it wasn't a fumble anyway. So we had only one. We do want to make sure Mark secures the ball a little better, but it wasn't really a fumble since he'd already reached across the line with the ball.

"The film looked good and it seemed like there was a good push from the offensive line on all of the running plays. We have to hit the holes a little better, but it was a good start for your first big scrimmage."

The Hogs are still awaiting word on Reggie Banks' medical physical. Extra checks were ordered after doctors questioned what they heard of his heart beat.

"They are doing one more check before giving him clearance, and we expect we'll get that today," Nutt said. "They think Reggie is fine, but they really do a thorough checks on the hearts after the Justin Brown tragedy a few years ago. I think it's the right thing to do. They are extra careful."

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