Returning Strong

Casey Dick

Just a few days before the opening of spring practice, Arkansas' football program releases its depth chart.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt has finalized his depth chart for the start of spring football practices. Not surprisingly, it looks a lot like last year's lineup.

Since the Razorbacks lost only one starter on offense and two on defense from last season, Nutt simply had to fill a few holes on his depth chart -- specifically along the offensive line.

There were no big surprises when Arkansas officially released its depth chart Thursday, four days before the team holds its first spring practice at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Sophomore Casey Dick, who started the final four games last season after junior Robert Johnson struggled to move the offense, enters the spring as the team's No. 1 quarterback. Johnson is listed as his backup, and sophomore Alex Mortensen is penciled in as the third-string quarterback.

But it remains to be seen if the addition of former Springdale High School quarterback Mitch Mustain will shake up the depth chart in the fall.

The most noticeable change on offense came along the offensive line, where sophomore Jonathan Luigs replaces Kyle Roper as the starting center and junior Robert Felton has been moved from right tackle to right guard.

Zac Tubbs, a 6-foot-6, 335-pound senior who made no starts last season and played in only one game, is listed as the starting right tackle.

Defensively, senior Desmond Sims is expected to replace Pierre Brown at middle linebacker after starting last season at left defensive end. Meanwhile, John West, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound transfer from North Dakota State College of Sciences, has impressed coaches enough during preseason workouts to be tabbed as Vickiel Vaughn's replacement at starting strong safety.

Arkansas opens the 2006 season against Southern California at Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

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