Arkansas worked in shorts and shoulder pads Thursday, correcting mistakes from Wednesday's scrimmage. Houston Nutt proclaimed the workout "a good day."
Nutt said the performances in the scrimmage Wednesday were solid, especially for the first offensive line and the first defensive secondary. The UA head coach said the secondary broke on the ball in solid fashion and the offensive line did an outstanding job of picking up stunts, twists and blitzes by the defensive front.
In Thursday's workout, both Ryan Sorahan and Matt Jones sparkled. Nutt said it is clear that both are having good springs.
"Ryan threw the ball very well yesterday and today," Nutt said. "He's been in the wars before. He played at Alabama and he is showing us that he knows how to play the game."
Sorahan hooked up with Jones on five brilliant pass plays in Thursday's 11-on-11 work, two of them for touchdowns. After one spectacular play, defensive back Lawrence Richardson returned to the offensive side of the ball to congratulate both Sorahan and Jones for the play.
"That was as good a play as I've ever seen, a one-hand catch reaching down low to grab a long pass," Richardson said of the Jones snag. "I just wanted to ask him where he came up with that one. It was out of this world. I just wanted to tell Matt that I thought he made some great catches today. He was jumping over guys, reaching around them and sometimes making those one-hand catches that are highlight reel stuff."
Nutt said nothing Jones does at wide receiver is ever a surprise since "everyone knows he can make big plays there. He made as many today as I've ever seen. But, I want to add this about Matt this spring ... he's really improved his footwork, his timing and his passing. He's really improved his passing on the three-step drops. And, Matt made two throws on the outs that are as good as you'll see."
The head coach said it is clear that Jones has improved his poise in the pocket this spring.
"On his drops, he's looking at his reads instead of the rush," Nutt said. "He's really improved that this spring. He's making plays at wide receiver, but Matt has also been very good in the passing game at quarterback, too."
Jones wasn't the only QB working at WR on Thursday. Redshirt freshman Cedric Washington lined up at wideout ... on the same side as Jones ... for one play during the workout. Sorahan was at QB for that play.
Nutt said the defense added some blitzes and new coverages Thursday in hopes of polishing them for the scrimmage.
"We put in some new things on both sides of the ball, and corrected the mistakes from the scrimmage," Nutt said. "One thing you saw in the scrimmage is that we have solid linebackers. Caleb Miller, Clarke Moore, Marcus Whitmore and Brandon Holmes are all good players. We are fortunate there. Brandon Holmes has the furthest to go, but I'll say he is making great strides. One thing you see is that he has a different speed from the others on blitzes. He's very quick. I like what I see from Brandon."
The Hogs will prep again Friday for a major scrimmage set for Saturday morning. Nutt said the Hogs will stretch at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, and probably begin the scrimmage shortly after 10 a.m.
Jason Peters dressed out, but did not do any major work. The big tight end should be able to work on Saturday. He's slowed with a shin bruise. Shawn Andrews was at practice, but a bruised leg kept him from participating in any drills. He walked with a limp.
Houston Nutt goes over a few points with his team after Thursday's workout.
Ryan Sorahan lines up at QB, with Matt Jones (9) in the slot and Cedric Washington at split end for one play Thursday.
Matt Jones (9) gets the play from Houston Nutt.
Ryan Sorahan runs through his pre-snap checks.
Ryan Sorahan works out of the shotgun.
The defense prepares for the snap.
Roy Wittke instructs Ryan Sorahan (10) while James Shibest shows Decori Birmingham what he wants.
Shawn Andrews took off his jersey to watch the end of the practice. Andrews has a foot injury.
Photos by Clay Henry