Sheppard Moved To Tackle, Wade Becomes No. 1

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach Houston Nutt, defensive coordinator Reggie Herring and defensive line coach Tracy Rocker all agreed. The video evidence was too overwhelming.

So on Wednesday, the coaches unveiled a new-look defensive line.

Sophomore Malcolm Sheppard, slated as the starting left end, appeared at right tackle, and senior Chris Wade, a backup before Wednesday, slid into Sheppard's spot. Junior Ernest Mitchell moved from right tackle to left tackle.

The change unceremoniously ended the competition between senior Fred Bledsoe and junior Marcus Shavers for the starting tackle role that opened when senior Marcus Harrison tore his ACL in the spring.

"Right now, that's our best 11 (defenders)," Nutt said.

Herring said Wade's impressive first few days forced the decision more than lackadaisical play by Bledsoe and Shavers. Rocker, the Hogs' defensive line coach, had a bit of a different take, though.

"We were trying to get two guys to battle for a tackle spot," Rocker said. "If they were fighting, we wouldn't have to make this decision."

Herring sees the move as a permanent one for Sheppard. Harrison could return for Arkansas' Southeastern Conference opener at Alabama. Whenever Harrison does return, Herring said he would just be another tackle in the mix, along with Mitchell and Sheppard.

"When Marcus gets back, now we have three tackles rotating, and that's what we're always shooting for," Herring said. "We're not going to look back from this."

Herring Not Happy

His face was red, his voice hoarse from the all-practice screaming he'd just laid on his Arkansas defense.

Herring always gives an honest assessment of his defense, no matter how brutal. And after Wednesday's practice, after seeing his defense relinquish a handful of long runs during drills against the offense, Herring got honest.

"I'm very disappointed," Herring said. "We're not playing as a team. We're not playing with intensity. It's sloppy. It's not up to our standard, and right now they have to go look themselves in the mirror and figure out what kind of defense they want to be.

"Right now, they're embarrassing themselves at practice."

Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, Michael Smith and Torian Wilkins each ripped off long gains against the Razorbacks defense.

"We're not getting the effort defensively that we should," Herring said. "We don't have chemistry. We're playing as individuals. We're not together.

"When you're giving up long runs (in practice) on every third play, that's pretty bad defense."

Extra Points

Quarterback Nathan Emert sat out the second half of practice because of strep throat, and cornerback Shedrick Jones left with about 20 minutes left after colliding with safety Walter LeAndre. Both are expected to practice today. ... Arkansas puts on full pads for the first time today at a 6 p.m. practice that is open to the public. ... The Hogs will practice twice on Friday -- at 9:40 a.m. and 6 p.m. -- and once on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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