Arkansas worked for two hours inside Walker Pavilion in full pads, the team's last workout before a major scrimmage set for Saturday inside Reynolds Razorback Practice.
The Hogs will take Friday off to make sure to have fresh legs for the scrimmage. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said the Hogs would take the field for individual work at 10 a.m. Saturday. He said they would scrimmage about 45 minutes later.
"We've got quite a few guys with tests on Friday, so we want them to zero in on their studies and then be fresh for the scrimmage," Nutt said after Thursday's workout.
Several players and one coach were absent on Thursday. The Hogs were missing seven players to participate on an "extra credit" academic project. Among the players not at practice were starters Michael Grant, Peyton Hillis and Robert Johnson. Danny Nutt, the running backs coach, had to leave work Thursday because of food poisoning.
"Danny is day-to-day," Houston said. "He was throwing up at 1:30 this afternoon and we sent him home to get better."
The defense held the upper hand in the 11-on-11 segment of practice, but the offense shredded the defense in the skeleton segment on the goal line early in practice.
"I don't really think any of that makes any difference right now because what we are working on might be different at different times," said defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. "I know this, the offense doesn't have its main horses out there. You put those two backs in there, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, and things change in a hurry.
"I know what the offense is doing. They are in an installation mode. That's what they said they would do for the first half of spring. They are installing a passing game. You can see it coming. The last day or so, they are adding the running game. You don't worry about this offense running the ball with these backs. They can go back to that at any time. They are doing what they said they were going to do and you can see them getting better at it."
Nutt said the defense was impressive Thursday. He said they continue to display great speed and solid attitude.
Defensively, the Hogs made one position change. Adrian Davis made his second position change since high school. He was a safety in high school, moved to outside linebacker as a true freshman last fall and moved to defensive end on Thursday.
"This is a move we anticipated when we signed him, but it came a little sooner than we first thought," Herring said. "We are two deep with scholarship players at all three linebacker spots, but we were not at defensive end. This helps us as far as numbers at end. I think this is a very good spot for him. He looked very good and took to it well today."
Herring said he's encouraged by the progress of both safety Michael Grant and linebacker Freddie Fairchild. Both are coming off ACL knee surgeries.
"Grant has been awesome and displayed some maturity we hadn't seen previously," Herring said. "Freddie was limping when he first came out here this spring, but the limp is gone and he's getting better every day. I'm pleased with the way both of them have responded. You would never know they had surgery."
Thursday Grid Update, 4/5
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