Dacus Returns To Practice Minus A Few Pounds

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Arkansas middle linebacker Weston Dacus returned to practice Thursday, though he's considerably lighter than he was earlier this month.

Dacus estimated that he's lost between 10-12 pounds while battling a stomach flu over the last week. The junior, who now weighs about 225 pounds, said he's getting over the illness that caused him to miss Wednesday's practice.

"I felt great today. I lost a few pounds, and I actually felt better at a lighter weight. I was moving a little better," Dacus said.

"I'm still trying to get re-hydrated and maybe get a few more pounds on to plug these holes for these big (defensive) guys."

Despite feeling sick lately, Dacus is expected to make his 10th start this season at middle linebacker when Arkansas faces Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on Monday.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said he was pleased to get Dacus back, especially considering the team's lack of depth at linebacker. But it was apparent during Thursday's practice that Dacus has not regained his old form.

"He's lost some weight, (and he's) a little rusty," Nutt said. "But he'll be all right."

Hogs Committed To 'Wildcat'

Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn has no problems sticking with the Wildcat formation, even if it's no longer a surprise to opposing teams like Wisconsin.

Midway through the season, Malzahn decided to put running back Darren McFadden at quarterback and let the sophomore take the direct snap. The idea was to take advantage of McFadden's versatility and keep opposing defenses off-balance.

But Florida's defense had success containing the Wildcat formation in a 38-28 win over Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game on Dec. 2.

With McFadden slowed by a high ankle sprain and a strained Achilles tendon, the Razorbacks gained only eight yards on five carries out of the Wildcat formation. McFadden, meanwhile, completed only 1 of 3 passes for 2 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

"They did a great job of stopping it. So we've got to do a better job adding new wrinkles (to the formation). We've got to do a better job executing," Malzahn said.

"But (the Wildcat formation has) been a big part of our offense this year, and we're going to do whatever it takes to win. If it's run the Wildcat, that's what we'll do."

McFadden has lined up in the Wildcat formation 60 times this season, gaining 463 yards and scoring nine touchdowns over seven games.

Malzahn has added new elements to the formation since it was first used in a 38-3 win over Ole Miss on Oct. 21. And with nearly a month to prepare for the Capital One Bowl, the Badgers can expect a few more wrinkles.

"We're just going to try and do what we do and throw the Wildcat package at them," Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs said. "If it works, it works and we'll stick with it. If not, we have plenty of other things to pull out of our hat."

Raising Your Voice

Malzahn isn't sick, but his voice could use a break.

Malzahn sounded hoarse while speaking with reporters following Thursday's practice.

"I'm losing my voice a little bit," Malzahn said. "It's been windy out here, and you've got to be loud (for the players)."

But Malzahn isn't getting sick from hanging around Dacus, is he?

"I've steered clear of him, everybody (has)," Malzahn said with a smile. "He's like the plague around here."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories