Arkansas got some good news on the injury front Wednesday, and dodged a scare as the Hogs worked in full pads for about two hours.
Tight end J. Strain's second MRI for his injured right knee was the same as the first. Doctors found his ACL to be sound, and uninjured. They did find some torn cartilage. He will have arthroscopic surgery in one week as swelling subsides.
Cornerback Eddie Jackson came to practice injured after sustaining a freakish ankle sprain while walking down some steps at his apartment. Jackson came to practice with a protective "boot" on his right ankle.
"I'll be back tomorrow," Jackson said. "This is just for precautionary measures to keep the swelling down. I think I'm fine. I wanted to go today, but they wanted to wait a day."
Jackson was a bit embarrassed over his minor injury and took some heat from both his teammates and head coach Houston Nutt in a joking manner. "They got me pretty good for this one," Jackson said.
After practice, Nutt said, "Eddie didn't put his shoes on the right way and sprained it. We tell our guys they are one play away from being in the lineup, and they may believe me now."
Nutt said the practice was less than fantastic. In fact, he stopped the workout at the midpoint of the team work session, and restarted that period.
"We got off to a bad start and we started some of it over," Nutt said. "We finished on a good note. We didn't have the focus at the start, but we got it right after we stopped and talked about it."
The Hogs continued to experiment in the defensive line, with apparent good results. Line coach Kacy Rodgers said that he was pleased with Gavin Walls, Jason Peters and Gene Perry after watching that trio in parts of two workouts.
"We are just looking at some special packages that would be something that fits each of their own abilities," Rodgers said. "We looked at Jason yesterday at one particular scheme and liked what we saw. He can play it. We looked at some things that would seem to fit Gavin at defensive end today, and we'll keep those things.
"Gene Perry is more of a guy who we wanted to look at for defensive tackle. We are just short as far as depth, and he's a big, strong, athletic linemen. He has the size we need there.
"It was a situation with Gene where it looked like a redshirt if he stayed on offense. If he can help us at defensive tackle, he can go get on the bus and play. He liked that idea. He's a team player. He was happy and ready to do anything to help our squad. I think he can help us. He is a great, great person and I look forward to coaching him."
Raymond House worked some at defensive tackle, with Elliott Harris and Justin Scott taking the top end spots. House has been a two-year starter at end.
George Wilson, the obvious leader of the offense, said it makes no difference who plays quarterback for the Hogs.
"I'm in the huddle and the team is with it no matter who steps in at quarterback," Wilson said. "You could tell if there was a problem.
"I think we are all fine no matter who we have, and we know that Matt can get us into the end zone. We want to win, and we think he can do it. If he can't, then it'll change, and then another quarterback will get a chance.
"I've talked to Tarvaris Jackson. He and I are good friends. He's going to work as hard as possible to be ready if something happens to Matt. Right now, Tarvaris is on the backburner a little bit. But, I think we all know that everyone is going to get a chance. I think Tarvaris will get a chance, too. We are going to need everyone during this season."