Hogs Trying to Handle Heat

FAYETTEVILLE — Running back Michael Smith had an interesting description for Arkansas' first practice.

"It was almost out of this world," Smith said. "The speed and intensity and tempo of the practice. ... Then putting that together with the heat, it was extremely tough."

As if living up to new coach Bobby Petrino's extreme expectations wasn't enough, Arkansas was greeted with intense weather conditions when it stepped on the field Monday. Temperatures in Northwest Arkansas closed in on the 100-degree mark, adding a level of difficulty that didn't exist when Arkansas practiced last spring.

It's part of a stifling weather stretch that is expected to continue today, when freshmen take the field again at 3 p.m. But Arkansas players and coaches — who wore sweat-soaked shirts and jerseys — said they must learn to cope with the conditions this week.

"It's tough," quarterback Tyler Wilson said. "But it displays how mentally tough a person is if they can handle it. I try to deal with it the best I can."

Arkansas is doing its best to combat the heat, too.

The freshman, who started an hour early, took a water break after 45 minutes. The entire team started working at 4 p.m., then took a short water break at 5:05 p.m.

There was relief when practice ended as well. Tubs were filled with ice water for players to sit in and recharge.

"That helped a lot," defensive end Adrian Davis said of the water breaks. "You don't have to worry about nobody falling out. You can get a little break here and there."

Davis said most of the Razorbacks were prepared for the weather because of offseason workouts. Players took part in conditioning drills throughout the summer, which exposed them to the less-than-ideal conditions.

Petrino has made it clear that Arkansas' practice schedule or demands won't change because of the conditions this preseason. In fact, he said he was disappointed by Arkansas' overall performance Monday.

"The heat was a part of the practice (Monday), and we didn't do as good of a job as we need to," Petrino said.

But Smith said the good news — if it can be called that — is the Hogs will be back in the stifling weather today.

"(Monday) was a gut check for the entire team," Smith said. "You have to be in shape because you can't go through it if you're not. ... When they run (practice) at a high speed, high tempo like that, you just don't have that in you. So you have to find it from somewhere."

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