Thursday Grid Report, 10/24

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt thought Thursday's practice was a big improvement over the Wednesday workout as the Hogs finished preparations for Ole Miss.

Arkansas stretched its Thursday workout to close to two hours as the football team made up for lost time the day before dealing with the arrest of Jermaine Brooks.

"We had a great practice today with excellent concentration," Nutt said. "We put in more work than usual on a Thursday. We had to after not getting as much done yesterday. We had great focus, great concentration and it was a good practice. Yesterday was somber, but they bounced around today. We got what we needed done."

Nutt said Shawn Andrews did not work on defense as originally planned because of a sore ankle. He'll stick to offense for this week.

"I think our leaders have done a great job with this team," Nutt said. "Raymond House has really stepped up. He was probably closest to Jermaine and what he's done the last two days as far as leadership has been a great boost to this team."

Bobby Allen, linebacker coach, thought the defense was a solid, cohesive unit Thursday. He said it was obvious that Pervis Osborne, the numerical replacement for Brooks, had a solid practice.

"I think you see some guys that recognize opportunity and they brought it today," Allen said. "I think all of our defense did well. They know what happened. A guy made a bad mistake, and they go on. Our guys loved Jermaine. We all did. But he's gone and we are going to go play football. It's exactly as if we lost him because of an injury, and that's what we've talked about."

In talking with players, it was obvious that some have moved past the Brooks situation already ... while others have not.

"We're fine," said Mark Pierce. "We lost a guy ... a guy we liked. But, he's gone. We will play hard. We practiced hard today. Nothing going to keep us from playing hard on Saturday. We want to win a football game. We are here to win games and that's our mission. It has nothing to do with anything else, just playing football. We like to play football and we'll play hard."

Wide receiver George Wilson was still dealing with the emotional issue of losing one of his best friends.

"It's like a death, almost," Wilson said. "It's hard to take. I watched the TV shows last night. I heard what people said about him, the media and everyone else. That's tough. They had him up there so high just a few days before. He was the greatest and now he's the worst. I can't handle that. He's my friend. He made a mistake. We all know that. It was a terrible mistake, but I still love the guy. I can't throw him away that easily. I hurt for what's happening to him and I know he did it to himself. I still hurt.

"But, we'll go out and play hard. For me, I'm playing the rest of the season for him. Some may not understand that, but it's the way I feel about him."

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