Houston Nutt said the seniors came forward in a big way during a team meeting held just prior to Wednesday's practice. Obviously, the focus of the meeting was the loss of Jermaine Brooks, a defensive captain and team leader.
"I'm proud of the seniors," he said. "Guys like Fred Talley, Nathan Ball, Raymond House, Sparky Hamilton ... all the seniors ... stepped up. I think we had a big-time bonding session.
"We talked about how someone had fallen down, and now the team has to carry on without him."
Nutt was asked if it was tough to get up for practice with the day's events, and how did it rank with some of his tougher assignments as a coach.
"It was one of the toughest ... yes, probably so," he said.
Nutt said it wasn't a "crisp" workout, but a good one in many ways.
"We got more done than I thought we would," he said. "It was an encouraging day. The players tried to do things the right way. They made some mistakes, but they worked hard and tried hard."
Nutt said the Hogs will probably look at Shawn Andrews for help on the defensive line as the Hogs look to replace Brooks at tackle. However, Andrews left practice early, limping on a chronic ankle problem.
"We'll evaluate tonight," Nutt said, "and you might see some moves (Thursday). We are going to get Jason Peters some more snaps on the defensive side, too."
Andrews wasn't the only player to limp off the practice field. Lawrence Richardson had to leave early with what is believed to be a minor leg injury.
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack declined to talk about any new faces in the defensive line, noting that they will plan to go with the ones available right now.
"We got Justin Scott back today and Raymond House is looking better, too," Wommack said. "Both are still a little gimpy. Arrion Dixon is a little gimp, too. But, I think all of those will play. As far as someone new in the defensive line, we might look at someone tomorrow and I'll let Coach Nutt talk about that."
With Andrews possibly playing some on defense, Nutt said there was more good news in the O-line. Zac Tubbs appears to be recovered from a mild knee sprain and had a solid practice Wednesday and got extra snaps with Andrews exiting early to the training room.
It also appears that Mark Bokermann and Cedric Cobbs were close to full speed.
Moderate showers fell during most of the workout. The defense stayed outside while the offense moved inside Walker Pavilion for the bulk of its workout.
Players were not allowed to do any interviews with the media on Wednesday.
Wednesday Grid Report, 10/23
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