Hogs' Harrison Suffers Torn Ligament

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' football team suffered a setback on Tuesday with the news that senior defensive tackle Marcus Harrison would be sidelined for the spring with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

"It's not good news," Hogs coach Houston Nutt said. "You don't like to lose anyone in the spring. We're just hopeful he'll be ready next (fall)."

The injury happened on Monday, Nutt said, when Harrison "jumped over a pile and came down wrong."

Harrison, who began last season as a starter before getting hurt and yielding his starting role to Ernest Mitchell, has a bone bruise in addition to the torn ligament and will undergo surgery in the coming weeks.

His recovery time is estimated at five to six months.

Arkansas trainer Dean Weber said, "We're going to take recovery at the normal pace and see in August or September where Marcus is."

Nutt commended receivers Marques Wade, Rod Coleman and Carlton Salters, along with offensive linemen Cord Gray, Michael Aguirre and Joey Crossland.

Nutt said receivers coach Alex Wood had done a great job in promoting competition among the young receivers.

Five Razorbacks took turns fielding Jeremy Davis' punts: Peyton Hillis, Reggie Fish, Jerell Norton, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Nutt explained that Arkansas may use a two-returner set at times this fall.

Asked about the advisability of using Heisman Trophy favorite McFadden as a punt returner, Nutt said, "He's a tough guy, and a playmaker."

Nutt said defensive end Antwain Robinson, who had a theft and another near-interception along the line of scrimmage, "has a knack for the ball."

Hogs offensive coordinator David Lee said he expected the offense to look better in a scrimmage on April 7 than in a scrimmage planned for this Saturday.

"We're still installing things," Lee said. "Today I was holding up cards in the red zone, just to get plays on film, because we've already given the players too much (to remember)."

Lee said quarterback Casey Dick continued to do well.

"Casey and I have meshed well," Lee said. "I'm hard-headed and he knows it; he's hard-headed and I know it."

Lee has introduced several innovative drills to Dick and backup QB Nathan Emert, who twice tossed a football into the elevated "trash can" at the corner of the end zone on Tuesday. One drill requires the quarterbacks to turn quickly in either direction and fire at a net.

"I wanted to see how accurate they were," Lee said. "But I didn't tell them that."


Besides defensive tackle Marcus Harrison's knee injury which will sideline him for the spring, defensive tackle Marcus Shavers is out indefinitely with a recurrence of the foot injury he suffered during preparations for the Capital One Bowl game against Wisconsin.

"He broke his foot before the bowl game," UA trainer Dean Weber said. "The foot is not re-broken, but it is sprained."

Hogs safety Michael Grant, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against South Carolina last year, dressed out in shorts on Tuesday, but that didn't keep him from intercepting a pass in live action and returning it for a touchdown.

"He knows how to stay away from contact," coach Houston Nutt said. "He made a great play to take that ball to the house."


It was "Old Home Week" at Arkansas football practice on Tuesday. Former Razorbacks player and coach Ken Hatfield attended for the second straight day. Former Hogs receiver Steadman Campbell, now the cornerbacks coach at North Alabama, watched the workout, as did former UA defensive terror Tony Bua. Former Arkansas offensive line coach Larry Beightol, who has retired as an NFL coach, attended Monday... Bua, who played one year with the Miami Dolphins and was on the Cincinnati Bengals' practice squad last season, is now with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League and will begin play in June... When UA offensive coordinator David Lee spotted Hatfield standing with former Hog Harold Horton and longtime trainer Dean Weber, Lee joked, "It's all the young 'uns."... Arkansas is idle today but will practice Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a scrimmage on Saturday.


Ben Cleveland of Springdale, a sophomore-to-be, has moved from tight end to fullback this week and is backing up starter Peyton Hillis at that position.

"That's the big personnel move of the spring," Arkansas offensive coordinator David Lee said on Tuesday. "I asked Ben about switching (Monday) and he had a great attitude about it."

Cleveland, listed at 6-foot-4 and 248 pounds as a freshman, reminds Lee physically of some players he saw in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys the last four years.

"He's got the size to line up at fullback, H-back or slot receiver," Lee said. "Hillis is having a great spring, but I got to thinking, 'What do we do if he gets hurt?' I talked to Danny Nutt, who's good at personnel, about it and he agreed that moving Ben to fullback would be a good thing."

Cleveland, who arrived at Arkansas last season along with fellow Springdale natives Mitch Mustain, Damian Williams and Andrew Norman, caught the winning touchdown pass from Mustain against Alabama.

Williams and Mustain have since left the team, but Norman remains as a second-year freshman in eligibility. Norman has overcome a strained hamstring and has gained 25 pounds since he arrived on campus. His target playing weight is 195 pounds.

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