Tuesday Grid Update, 10/28

Arkansas has some holes in the offensive line this week as it prepares for Tulsa's trip to the Ozarks. Line coach Mike Summers likes the way his group fought in practice.

It's patchwork time again in the Arkansas offensive line, but Mike Summers didn't seem fazed by the task after Tuesday's practice.

"It's an opportunity for some guys," Summers said. "They are excited about that and that gets me pumped up, too. They appeared as though they were very much into getting a chance to play."

Starting tackle Ray Dominguez and starting guard Grant Cook were both out of practice Tuesday. Dominguez, bothered by an ankle injury, could still play this week against Tulsa. Cook, who sustained a knee sprain, has been ruled out of the Tulsa game.

Grant Freeman moved into the first team slot at tackle, but he's going to get pressure from Michael Aguirre. Aguirre has been out since the Florida game. He started that game ahead of the injured Dominguez, but sustained an ankle and knee injury and hasn't been a starter since.

DeMarcus Love, the starter when the season began, regained his slot at guard. He's not been able to regain his slot since he went down with an ankle injury in practice before the Texas game.

"I haven't been told Dominguez won't be able to play," Summers said. "He's still got a chance to come back this week.

"But right now, we are having a good battle there between Freeman and Aguirre. I'm pleased with what they did today. We'll see who rises up.

"Love has been working hard and he had a good day, today. He has been trying to get his job back the last couple of weeks. He's going to get a chance to see what he can do again now. Love is a good football player and is full speed now.

"Really, all of our guys are competing and working hard. It's refreshing to come to practice and see this kind of effort. They are really trying to get better. We've got a lot of young guys, but they are eager to play. They have practiced hard. They are tough mentally. They are trying to respond. We have got some competition going on out there. We are letting them fight it out."

The Arkansas offensive line will have its hand full with an aggressive Tulsa defense, featuring blitzes and pressures that change by the down.

"They are really a 3-3 scheme with five defensive backs," Summers said. "We definitely have our work cut out for us. We have to go to work. They seem to have about 150 ways they blitz. I think they probably stay up late at night thinking up some of these blitzes. They are trying hard to come up with things to confuse the line and the quarterback. We are trying to sort it all out.

"We have to study hard this week to understand the angles they are sending their linebackers. They have a lot of players close to the line, really eight on most snaps. We have to identify where they are and where they are coming from. Then, we have to fill those spots and get a firm block.

"The thing about their blitzes, they are putting some pressure on their secondary. We just need to slow them down a little bit so we can create some big plays. Maybe if we slow 'em all down just a little, we'll have some people running open."

Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino knows the scheme.

"They are trying to bring some pressure from the edge," he said. "They are trying to make big plays, create turnovers. They know they are going to get some points from their offense, so they can gamble a little."

That may mean there are some opportunities in the passing game. Petrino sees some wide receivers stepping up, especially Lucas Miller.

"I think he was dinged up earlier, with a concussion and a knee injury, too," Petrino said. "But he's playing well now. He had six knockdowns in our running game last week. He made the touchdown catch and brought some energy to the field.

"We need to make some big plays (against the Tulsa scheme). We need to score some points. Hopefully, we can have some two and three-play drives. We have to take care of the ball and get some touchdowns.

"We made some big plays in the fourth quarter this past game. Hopefully, that success will carry over."

The Hogs were missing a couple of defensive ends during the early part of practice. Adrian Davis (knee injury) and Antwain Robinson were not with the team during the open part of practice, the first 15 minutes of the day.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories