Hogs Show Toughness During Workout

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett worked on his footwork while wearing nothing to protect the right ring finger he broke earlier in the summer.

Running back Michael Smith and wide receiver Lucas Miller showed as they sprinted on the team's practice field that they've recovered from the surgeries that limited them in the spring.

And as for the rest of Arkansas' players who lifted weights, jogged through cones and smashed rocks Friday in the hot afternoon sun, they're looking forward to their offseason conditioning program coming to an end.

They want the football season to get here already.

"I think that we upped our level (this summer) because we're stronger, we're faster. So it may not seem as intense because we may have been a little out-of-shape (last year)," Smith said. "But it's even more intense now.

"We're doing things that we've never done. I don't remember the last time we ran in this type of heat."

With strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp stalking the sidelines, Arkansas' players spent more than two hours taking part in a grueling workout that left at least one player feeling sick.

It began Friday afternoon with players lifting weights as AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" blared through the team's weight room. The workout — which was open to the media — ended with six players putting on hard hats and smashing large rocks near the practice field.

"We're mentally tougher as a team," Veltkamp said. "As I would say absolutely we're mentally tougher and the kids take pride in that."

The Razorbacks will attempt to prove that Aug. 7 when they open preseason practice.

Mallett, Miller and Smith stood out during the workout for the lone fact that they didn't appear to be hampered by the injuries that either sidelined them in the spring or slowed them down over the summer.

Mallett said he's back to throwing the football after breaking the ring finger on his right (throwing) hand during a weight-room accident on June 1. He didn't throw a pass during the workout, but he insisted afterward that his finger is no longer a problem.

"I wasn't really worried about it in the first place because I knew it wasn't a big deal," Mallett said. "And just to be back throwing is a big thing for me right now."

Miller, meanwhile, admitted that he feels relieved to be able to work out with his teammates again after a torn ACL limited what he could do during spring practice.

He showed Friday as he ran through a set of cones with the rest of Arkansas' wide receivers that he's recovered from the knee injury. He said he's close to 100 percent.

"When I started the summer, I felt like I was behind. I wasn't comfortable yet," Miller said. "But the past month it's really starting to come back. My body is starting to respond better, like it used to."

Smith, meanwhile, dispelled any notion that he won't be able to resume his duties as Arkansas' featured back in the fall after being hampered in the spring by hamstring surgery.

Said Smith: "I feel great."

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