Thursday Grid Update, 9/12

Bret Bielema

Bret Bielema said there may be some new wrinkles to watch for when it comes to freshman tackles Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland. Bielema said the Hogs had a "crisp" Thursday workout.

Bret Bielema doesn't like to waste a redshirt, so there may be some new roles for a few of the freshmen that have played already. Look for Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland in some different offensive packages and perhaps on defense.

Bielema, the Arkansas head coach, revealed that tidbit Thursday after the final major practice of the week before an 11:21 a.m. kickoff Saturday against Southern Mississippi.

Among other news from Thursday, Bielema said linebacker Otha Peters will play, but a cast to protect an arm that was broken in August probably means there won't be a heavy load for him on defense. He will play mainly in special teams. When he does slide into the defensive rotation, Bielema said it would be at middle linebacker.

Tight end Austin Tate, returning from shoulder surgery, would dress out and participate in warm-ups, but would not play. Safety Rohan Gaines is very doubtful with a knee bruise. Gaines has been available for limited work this week after missing last week's game. Gaines would be evaluated in pre-game warmups.

"I don't think Rohan will be with us," Bielema said. "But there is still a chance for him in a limited role (against Southern Miss)."

Skipper and Kirkland are in protections on special teams. Kirkland got "around 20 snaps" in the opener, but played less against Samford.

"We have some schemes to use (Kirkland and Skipper) on defense and we have some special packages for them on offense," Bielema said. "As we move through the schedule and we get in a situation where there are a lot of snaps, we'll use them more. If you don't use a redshirt, we want to get maximum use. I think that's why we want to increase the role (on defense) for Brooks Ellis and D. J. Dean."

Defensive end Trey Flowers is full speed after sitting out last week.

"I don't think Trey will miss a beat this week," Bielema said. "Otha will play, just don't know how much."

Bielema said it was a good week of practices capped "by our best practice" among Thursdays of the season.

"I think we are locked in and crisp," he said, noting later that it doesn't matter the opponent as far as preparations. He was asked about playing an 0-2 Southern Miss team coming off a winless season.

"I appreciate where you are coming from with the question, but I think it's the same for us whether or not you are playing an Alabama or a Southern Miss, the record doesn't matter," Bielema said. "Our preparations are the same."

Bielema was asked about work against the influence trap play that bothered the Hogs against Samford.

"They had success with it and all coaches steal," Bielema said. "We expect to see it again. That makes sense.

"We came across the face of the tackle when they showed the hole. We hadn't seen that play, but we have now."

Bielema said his review of the tape showed that the pass interference penalty against tight end Hunter Henry "was proper," but he knows it provided a great coaching point for the freshman this week in practice.

"He got caught in a technique and we corrected that," he said. "He was not trying to block. The intent was not there, but you can see why it was called."

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