FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas starting quarterback Clint Stoerner is expected to return to practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a bruised right (throwing) shoulder in the Razorbacks’ 44-6 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
“He was better today, but he didn’t practice,” UA Director of Athletic Medicine Dean Weber said after the Hogs’ Tuesday afternoon workout. “We’ll try to dress him and stretch him tomorrow, maybe get him to hand-off. He’s doing well and we’re optimistic.”
Though pleased with Stoerner’s recuperation, UA head coach Houston Nutt would not speculate on Stoerner’s strength for the 14th-ranked Razorbacks’ Southeastern Conference opener Saturday at Alabama. “I’ve got to let the experts do that,” Nutt said. “I’m really impressed with his progress and we’ll have him out here in pads tomorrow.”
J.J. Jones, who missed the ULM game after breaking his hand in practice last week, is coping with his injury. “He scooped up a ball one-handed today in fumble drills,” Nutt said. “He’ll be there. I think by Saturday he’ll be used to playing with it.”
Jones is part of an Arkansas defensive unit challenged with stopping Alabama running back Shaun Alexander – a challenged the Hogs answered last year by holding Alexander to just 48 yards in the Razorbacks’ 42-6 win in Fayetteville. “(He’s) running much harder than last year and we’ve got to gang-tackle him,” Nutt said.
Containing Alexander is just one phase of the game plan the Hogs began to install Tuesday. “They run every screen (pass) known to man,” Nutt said of the Crimson Tide offense. “We just have to continue to take care of the ball and I’m pleased with the way we’ve taken care of it so far.”
Ranked 14th in both The Associated Press Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today poll, Arkansas (2-0, 0-0 SEC) will face Alabama (2-1, 1-0 SEC) at 2:35 p.m. Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. CBS Sports will televise the game to 70 percent of the nation.