Wednesday Grid Update, 11/14

Arkansas worked on tough, physical football, the type it will need to play on Saturday to match Mississippi State's style.

Arkansas went through a physical practice Wednesday in preparation for what coaches feel will be a "very physical game" when Mississippi State visits the Hogs in Little Rock on Saturday.

"We went good on good today because the two teams are similar," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said.

By that, Nutt meant that the Hogs worked the first team offense against the first team defense because the style of play for both teams is the same, heavy on the run and smashmouth.

"That part of the game is simple," Nutt said, as far as knowing what to prepare for against the Bulldogs.

Nutt said wide receiver Marcus Monk is having his best week since August knee surgery.

"You can see him getting a lot better," Nutt said. "In the past few weeks he has gotten better. Before you could see him limp and favor his good leg. Today, it was more balanced. You can see him getting better in the one-on-one drills. He had a very good day today. When he comes down on that knee, he's not limping now. He looks much better."

Tailback Felix Jones has not practiced this week after sustaining a thigh bruise against Tennessee. Nutt isn't sure if Jones can play or not.

"We just won't know until Saturday," he said. "I can tell you that it's not nearly as deep a thigh bruise as Peyton Hillis had last year, but it's still sore and it's still painful. Those are tough injuries."

Defensive tackle Marcus Harrison was excused from practice to make up some class work.

"He's been very physical the last few weeks and we got a couple of memos on some things he needed to take care of," said Reggie Herring defensive coordinator. "So it made sense to send him to do that work and not have him out here. He has shown that he doesn't need this work out here. I might have held him out anyway to make sure he didn't get hurt. It has been a very physical week of practice and he doesn't need it."

Herring called the Hogs' workouts this week "very good." He said it's been two of the best workouts of the year and he said he was proud of his players.

"I told 'em that tonight," he said. "We asked a lot of them the last two days and they have been very good.

"I think this is the kind of game they like, where they are challenged up front quite a bit. That's what this game this week will be, a physical challenge. I think our guys like that. We are going to have to get a lot from them against the run. It will require more help from the safeties in the run game, probably some help from the corners. We are asking them for some courage. But I think they like that. I think this is their kind of game. Our kids are teflon tough.

"That's the marching orders for this week, the batle cry if you will. It's going to be about stopping the run."

Herring said he likes the physcial presence he's seen from sophomore defensive end Adrian Davis over the last few weeks.

"That was Adrian Davis' best game against Tennessee," Herring said. "He was very good. He showed a physical nature. That's impressive for a guy who was a free safety in high school and was with me at outside linebacker last year. He's coming on. I can see him becoming a very good defensive end. He's about 240 now and needs another 15 to 20 pounds, but he's doing a nice job right now.

"We moved him ahead of Antwain Robinson because he's more of a force against the run. Adrian has really done a nice job."

Elston Forte has moved back ahead of Wendell Davis at weakside outside linebacker this week after Davis started and played 47 snaps last week.

"Wendell can do some things in the run game, but he struggled in space last week," Herring said. "We have a few other things we are thinking about at linebacker. We might just put Jermaine Love (true freshman) at mike linebacker and move Weston Dacus to will. But we might just stay like we are."

Herring said Kevin Woods has had a good week of practice back at free safety after missing last week with shoulder problems.

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