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Hogs Need Depth for Auburn

Arkansas coaches will rotate players off the bench to counter the expected heat and humidity in the season opener against Auburn.
FAYETTEVILLE--Razorback football coaches have no way to closely simulate the expected combination of heat and humidity for the team's 3 p.m. season opener against Auburn. Auburn, Alabama is typically hotter in late August than Fayetteville, Arkansas which has experienced a cooler than normal summer. Hog offensive line coach Sam Pittman says if he can fully prepare his backup players by game time he won't hesitate to substitute more than is typical for him in order to deal with the conditions that are anticipated.

"We want to keep fresh guys," Pittman told the Razorback Nation. "If I feel like we can go into that game with seven or eight guys we can win the game with they'll probably play because of the potential of the heat. Certainly I'm not going to punish the team if a player is a lot better than somebody else. I'm not going to take him off the field. But if they are close in ability a fresh player is going to be better than a guy that's fatigued."

Perhaps with the Auburn game in mind the rotation at receiver has grown as pre-season camp has progressed. Before Saturday's scrimmage head coach Bret Bielema said he felt like he had four receivers he could count on this season. The four were Demetrius Wilson, Cody Hollister, Jared Cornelius and Drew Morgan. After the scrimmage he added Keon Hatcher to the list. Following Monday morning's practice the number was getting closer to six.

"The way (freshman) Kendrick Edwards is playing and performing in practice he's going to crack that rotation," receivers coach Michael Smith revealed. "You've got a kid that's six-six. A kid that's real smooth. Has the ability to catch the ball really natural. Has good demeanor about him. Has picked up what we've put on his plate."

By the Auburn game that rotation at receiver might grow to seven, Smith acknowledged, telling reporters that the other freshman receiver from Miami, Florida, Joseph Robinson, will benefit from a change made following the scrimmage.

"I had put Joseph at two positions to try and learn two positions," Smith explained. "After the scrimmage we sat back and decided we were going to bring him along the way we brought Jared (Cornelius) in the spring. Let him concentrate on one position. If he does that I think with the talent the kid has he will also avoid a redshirt."

The depth situation at running back has become cloudy in the last few days with a slight groin pull that kept Alex Collins out of the scrimmage and a "tweeked" hamstring suffered early in the scrimmage by Alex Collins. Korliss Marshall was left do do most of the ball carrying which featured several big plays in the passing game. Still, Pittman said that the running game was effective telling reporters, "We didn't have any explosive runs. I think we had some nine, ten, twelve yard runs. Efficiency, we were high on getting four yards or more. We didn't run a lot of outside plays. We're trying to get that inside push on 'em."

Collins returned to practice on Monday. Chaney said Collins did not appear to have any problems during the workout. He said Williams was still "a little tender" with no timetable for his return.
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