Arkansas Newcomers Report

The start of the 2001 Arkansas football season began Saturday as the newcomers reported to camp. Houston Nutt visited with the media after the newcomers were checked into the dorm and given physical examinations.

Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt was beaming from ear to ear as his best recruiting class slowly filed onto campus Saturday afternoon. All were accounted for as of 3 p.m. Saturday, when Nutt briefed the media on his 2001 recruiting class.

Nutt could not comment on the three freshmen counted on for immediate help, the three walkon kickers. But, he did say, "We are glad all three are here and we are going to do some things that we haven't done before as far as charting the kickers in our newcomers practices."

Actually, Nutt said the two days of newcomers practices Monday and Tuesday ... four workouts total ... will be at a faster pace than his first three years as Arkansas football coach.

"Normally, we try to get them familiar with their surroundings ... how to pick up their equipment, how to find the locker room, how to turn in their equipment and where the chow hall is ... but we are going to go a little faster this year," Nutt said. "Maybe it's like first grade usually, but with this group we are going to give them first, second and some of third grade. That's how I would describe it."

Nutt said practices would be split into offense and defense each day so that all of the freshmen can get a look at each side of the ball.

"We'll go 20 minutes on offense, have a break, then 20 minutes of defense," Nutt said. "We've got some guys like Michael Robinson, Clarke Moore and Jeb Huckeba that have played linebacker and on offense, too. And, you've got guys like Batman Carroll and Marvin Jackson that can play wide receiver and defensive back. We want to get a look at everyone on both sides of the ball.

"We won't time them in the 40 this year because we want to get straight into the playbook. We know they are fast. We will try to get a time on the NFL shuttle because that shows change of direction ability. If we have time we may also try to get a vertical jump. But, no 40s."

Nutt noticed one nice trend. Almost all of the newcomers arrived with their families.

"I think this group came with their parents more than some of those in the past," Nutt said. "And, they've got great families and great character.

"I think what you'll notice about this group over the next two or three years is two things; the speed and the character. I really like this group.

"You guys (in the media) have been writing nice things about these guys and we've been waiting with great anticipation over the summer for this day. It is an exciting time.

"It appears to me that this is a group that came ready to play. You notice a lot of them about what they've done this summer. They've worked hard since their high school has been concluded. I guess a guy that I really noticed today is Pierre Brown, a linebacker who played at 195 in high school and he came here at 217 to 220. Of course, Shawn Andrews looks really good, too. He's lost weight and looks great.

"I don't know how many of these guys will contribute, but I'd say that every position you look at across the board there are two or three newcomers that appear that they could contribute this year.

"As far as the quarterbacks, we are going to give them a lot this first week. We are going to take a bucket of paint and throw it on the wall and see what sticks. We will give them a little more of the playbook to see what they can handle. We will try to give them some plays and some motion and see how they handle it. We want them a few things, but we also want them to relax and be an athlete and show us what they can do."

Freshman quarterback Matt Jones is also a candidate to help at wide receiver, but Nutt said he would give the Fort Smith Northside product ample time to show what he can do at quarterback.

"I'd like to see Matt at least get a scrimmage because he has so many intangibles," Nutt said. "He's like a Billy Moore and a Scott Bull. They lead a team to the end zones. They have command in the huddle. We want to give him a good chance at quarterback."

The freshmen will spend Sunday afternoon in meetings before beginning practice at 9 a.m. Monday. The afternoon session will be at 3:30 p.m. The morning workout will be in the Walker Indoor Pavilion.


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