Arkansas Media Day

Here are the main topics covered at Arkansas' annual media day with Houston Nutt and the Razorback football team. Images are included.

Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt greeted around 150 reporters (newspaper, radio and TV) for media day in the Broyles Center.

One of the first matters on the agenda called for a review of the revised schedule for two-a-days forced by the heavy number of varsity players in summer school.

Nutt said the Hogs would meet at 6:45 a.m. both on Thursday and Friday, but not practice since so many players are still in classes. They will return for their afternoon practice as scheduled.

"We'll meet from 6:30 until 8, with breakfeast as a starter, then meetings to get everything installed," Nutt said. "Then, we'll let them go to class. We've got 26 with classes at 8:50, and another 35 with classes at 9:30 in the morning.

"So, for the first two days, we will have one-a-days instead of two-a-days. Then, we'll get into two-a-days on Saturday."

All members of the varsisty were accounted for, Nutt said. However, Lee Hayes is not eligible and will transfer, perhaps to Murray State.

Nutt revealed that Lawrence Richardson has completed his community service with Washington County for his shoplifting charge and has rejoined the team. However, he has not completed the work Nutt has handed down as part of his sentence.

"It's ongoing," Nutt said of the assignments from the head coach. "He's got more to do (for Nutt) over the next two and a half weeks. What is it? All of the above. He's got some patterns to follow."

Richardson was listed as a starter following spring drills, but Nutt said that was not the case now.

"I'd call it a brand new race and some new guys are here that are very good."

Quarterback Robby Hampton indicated he still feels pain when throwing and he is still unable to "really cut loose in the full range of motion."

Hampton said he would practice, but he will be limited with what he can do in the passing game.

"Dr. (John) Park tells me that this is a 12-month rehab that we are trying to do in half the time," Hampton said. "I've worked hard this summer, but there are things that I haven't been able to do. I'm in good shape, but this is just a long, drawn-out process.

"I guess what we will do is a set number of throws, and then no more until we see how this goes."

Hampton said his shoulder still is extremely sore while throwing and sometimes after he throws. Asked if that soreness has affected his expectations for the coming season, Hampton had a simple response.

"The only thing I'm thinking about and my only expectations are to get my shoulder to 100 percent," he said. "Dr. Park still feels good about the prospects for a full recovery. I just can't tell you when that will happen. The thing you can't do is become impatient. They've emphasized that. You have to do it a little at a time. That's what I'm doing."

The Hogs sported their new white Nike jerseys with mixed reviews, although most were favorable.

"I love them," said Raymond House, junior defensive end. "They may be a hair too dark as far as the red trim, but you really have to look close to see that. I'm told that they are fixing that, so we'll be fine.

"I like the way they feel, and I like the red trim on the white game jerseys. I think most everyone is fine with them."

Kenny Sandlin said, "They look sharp to me. The (Nike) shoes are good, too, but I was one of the guys who liked the Reebok shoes, too. I think the guys are happy."

Tight end Nathan Ball didn't like the way the sleeves fit, but thinks some revised uniforms on order will solve that problem.

"I guess they are okay," Ball said. "But they are definitely not the same red shade we've had. I know they are getting them fixed."

Aside from the cosmetics of the uniforms and the news that Richardson is done with his sentence for shoplifting, the major news concerned a couple of position switches.

Sacha Lancaster, moved to fullback in the spring with good results, will be used in some pass rush situations on the defensive front now that he's regained his quickness after losing to 248 pounds. He'll play some third downs as a rush end, Nutt said.

Defensive coordinator John Thompson said Eddie Jackson, a starter at cornerback last season, will be moved to rover or strong safety in the Hogs' new 4-3-4 scheme. Harold Harris will remain at cornerback, but may also be trained at strong safety.

Corey Harris finished the spring as the starting rover (strong safety) and did well in summer school to firm up his academic standing. Thompson said there was nothing wrong with Harris that forced Jackson's move to safety.

"It's a move to add more versatility to our defense," Thompson said. "There are some situations you want five defensive backs with cover ability on the field and we wanted to put Eddie in the mix at strong safety. He could still play corner if needed."

Jackson missed spring practice to run the hurdles with the track team.

"Eddie will be very good at rover," Thompson said. "When we told him two weeks ago, I think there was some concern because rover in the old defense was more of an outside linebacker. Rover in this defense is a safety who will be a cover corner.

"What you have to realize is that this will be a way to get a cover guy on the other team's best receiver. What teams do now to free up their best wideout is put him in the slot. You end up with a safety on him. So, we now have some flexibility with a guy like Eddie, a great cover guy with great size, at strong safety. It strengthens our defense quite a lot. Rover, in this scheme, is a harder position. We need someone like Eddie Jackson there. He'll be great."

Thompson said he is impressed with the help the Hogs have gained in their secondary with the newcomers.

"I love 'em," Thompson said. "The best thing about them is their competitive nature. Yes, they are athletes. But, they love to compete. You saw Marvin Jackson dive on the ground for balls on the Astroturf. They are talented and anxious to learn. We need to see what happens when we merge with the older guys. I expect they'll be very competitive when that happens."

There were some impressive specimens to observe when the varsity assembled. Raymond House, up to 275, and Kenny Sandlin, down to 313, were chief among them.

"We've had an awesome summer no matter where you look, or where you want to start," Sandlin said. "You have to understand that the atmosphere around here has been great. We have come together as a team. It's amazing and it's everyone.

"You look at guys like Sacha Lancaster. He changed his life last semester. He's a good one. And, we've got some new guys who came in this summer who are definitely charismatic like Shawn Andrews, Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Jones, Mark Pierce, DeArrius Howard and plenty of others.

"Batman? Well, the Bat is the Bat. He is a little different and a great guy. He is a leader and a great, great player. He is a big-time player. Some of these freshmen are real leaders. They don't seem to mind being leaders. They know when it's time for an older guy to speak, but if no one does it, they will step forward. The Bat is for real.

"I know the other day there was some locker room whining and I heard that DeArrius Howard spoke up to get it stopped. You don't hear that from freshmen too many times. That's a great sign and probably an indication of character in this class. You love to hear that."

 

Raymond House

Raymond House (56) is up to a sleek 275 pounds.

Offensive line

KTHV's Craig O'Neil donned a wig to tape a spot. O'Neill, stepping into his used car salesman's mode,


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