With heavy snow falling outside, Arkansas took advantage of the warm, cozy atmosphere inside Walker Pavilion for a nearly two-hour work in shorts and shoulder pads that left interim coach Reggie Herring with a glow.
"I'm very pleased with the attitude so far, very pleased," Herring said. "I always look for something to bark about, but I can't bark right now. These guys are giving great effort and giving us everything they've got. They've paid attention and they are focused. I'm very pleased."
Herring had his usual competition at the end of practice that pitted first the starting offense against the defense, then the seconds of both units. As has been the case the last few days, the defense won a tight battle, several of the plays hinging on calls by the referees, in this case assistant coaches. The battle has determined who has run gassers in the past few days, but Herring didn't want any conditioning this time.
"I really thought the offense played well, too, and it was almost too close to call anyway," Herring said. "So I asked Nathan Emert, representing the offense, a trick question afterwards in front of the team. If he got it right, his guys, the offense, didn't have to run. He stammered a bit, but fortunately, he had the right answer so there was no running."
Peyton Hillis did not practice, but he was involved. The senior fullback was in sweats and helped backup Farod Jackson understand pass routes and checks in the offense. Hillis might have been stepping in for absent backfield coach Tim Horton, on the road recruiting with new head coach Bobby Petrino.
Hillis sat out with knee tendinitis, an ailment that has bothered the Conway product for most of the last half of the season.
"This is a minor situation and he'll be back soon," Herring said. "The goal is to get everyone healthy for the bowl game."
Wide out Robert Johnson did not practice, but fellow senior Marcus Monk returned and made some big plays throughout the day. Monk's quickness has returned since the Hogs have begun bowl workouts. He looked fast and strong Saturday.
"Monk looked very good," Herring said. "He gave us a good day. It's obvious he's got some of his quickness back. He's a weapon when he's on the field and he made plays today. When you see Monk out there, you know it's a good thing. He's moving around very well right now."
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