Thursday Grid Update, 11/1

Eliminating turnovers was a big part of the focus over the week as Arkansas prepared to play host to South Carolina. Marcus Monk and Robert Johnson did not practice Thursday. Will they be ready for Saturday night?

Arkansas opened its practice Thursday with loud speakers on the field, a practice head coach Houston Nutt has used late in the season before.

The first song that blasted across the field before the team stretched was the Tim McGraw country song, "Live Like You Are Dying." Five or six other songs played as the team stretched, often with the players dancing along. Many players sang along to the tunes, but none more than reserve tailback Brandon Barnett, an obvious McGraw fan.

"Nothing new, something we've done quite a few times in the past," Nutt said afterwards. "It's a way to relax everyone."

Middle linebacker Weston Dacus, senior from Searcy, returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday to rest some bumps and bruises. Nutt pronounced Dacus as "ready to go" for Saturday's ESPN2 game with South Carolina. Game time is 7 p.m.

Senior wideouts Marcus Monk and Robert Johnson both sat out Thursday's workout, but should be able to play against the Gamecocks.

"They'll be able to go," Nutt said. "We planned to rest them today."

Wide receiver coach Alex Wood said Monk had a good week of practice.

"He's been good this week, very good," Wood said of Monk. "Really, both Tuesday and Wednesday he worked very hard. He put in two hard days of work and this was a way to get his leg feeling better for Saturday. We think he'll be fine. We jiust tried to rejuvenate him a little today."

Wood said Johnson shluld also be ready to play. However, sophomore London Crawford, while practicing, may not be as close to full speed.

"We might can get a few plays out of London on Saturday, but he may not can go as many as (Monk and Johnson)," Wood said. "He's still sore."

Crawford sustained a knee strain last week in practice. He did not play against Florida International.

Wood said he's been impressed with the South Carolina secondary coverage.

"That's a good group, it really is," he said. "They don't give up much. They do a good job in both zone and man and mix it up well. They are a typical solid SEC secondary, very good. They remind you of Auburn and Alabama as far as the secondary, a good group. They have good talent and they play their scheme well. It's a challenge."

The Arkansas wideout group, while depleted, has worked hard.

"I think their mood and attitude has been very good all season," Wood said. "Every day they've tried to get better."

Nutt said the focus in the backfield has been ball security from start to finish this week. He was asked about Darren McFadden's fumbles over the past few games.

"There's been a lot of emphasis on handling the ball this week, with Darren and the entire team," he said. "We know the ball is going to be put in Darren's hands Saturday night so we want to make sure he takes care of it."

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