FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the first time during preseason workouts, the Arkansas football team dressed out in full pads during practice as they continued their preparation for the 2007 season.
As expected when players strap on their entire equipment, the intensity increases as well. One noticeable effect of the hard hitting was an injury sustained by senior receiver Marcus Monk.
“We had a good day of practice, but it’s hard to feel good when No. 85 walks off the field,” said head coach Houston Nutt of Monk’s apparent knee injury. “He probably has some torn cartilage, so we’re going to get him an MRI right now.”
Nutt said the players will need to be able to find the balance between being too laid back and being too physical with their teammates during practice.
“Yesterday we weren’t aggressive enough,” Nutt said. “It’s the hardest thing there is when you want to be aggressive, but you don’t want to be here on Sept. 1 (against Troy) saying ‘we’re awfully soft.’”
With the combination of pads and the heat, Nutt said the players adjusted well to wearing the extra equipment.
“We moved around good today and had a lively session today,” Nutt said. “It was very hot and our guys fought through it very well.”
The defense picked up the pace and Nutt said the unit had a different look during the workout.
Freshman Brandon Barnett practiced for the first time as a Razorback. Though recruited as a tailback, the Texarkana native stepped on to the field wearing a white jersey as a member of the defense.
“He has always been a playmaker and a guy that makes a difference,” Nutt said of Barnett who was dressed out in shoulder pads and shorts.
Friday was scheduled to be the first two-a-day practice date for Arkansas, but Nutt said there will be just one workout to accommodate those players in summer school preparing for finals.
The team is set to return to the practice fields located just south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium at 6:15 p.m. The public is welcomed to attend Friday evening’s session. Log on to www.hogwired.com for continued coverage of Razorback football.