Arkansas unveiled its new Nike uniforms ... in wonderful Razorback red ... for a Monday night practice under the lights at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Houston Nutt said the night-time workout served three purposes. It was a cool respite from the August workouts. The Hogs got to throw ball around under lights. And, with the first day of classes, it allowed everyone to concentrate on academics.
"Traditionally, coaches will tell you that their worst practice is always on the first day of classes," Nutt said. "So we planned around that and let them get to classes and labs today."
A handful of players missed the workout because of night classes. Josh Melton was one of them. He's got a night class on Monday night in graduate school. Melton finished his undergraduate degree this summer. He is a junior in eligibility, but graduated in three years at the UA.
The players loved their new Nike uniforms. They were of the right shade of red, everyone agreed. Earlier attempts by Nike had failed to match Razorback red. The Hogs sent those maroon uniforms back earlier in the summer. Those that arrived today were perfect.
"They got it right," Tim Cheney said. "There were no real problems. They came in with the right numbers with the right names. I'm pleased with what Nike has done for us. They've bent over in every way to do us right."
Captain Kenny Sandlin said the uniforms were right in color and material texture.
"They feel great and we all love them," Sandlin said. "They fit better than what we've had the last few years and the material is comfortable. I think we all love them. We like the way they fit in the body and with the sleeves."
The uniforms are Razorback red, with white numbers over a very slight black shadow. As per tradition, there are white running Hogs on each sleeve, and the last names of the players are stitched to the back of the jerseys in white block numbers. Of course, there is a small white Nike swoosh on the front of the uniforms, per Nike's tradition.
"I think the uniforms look good, and so does our stadium," Nutt said. "Our new lights are wonderful. It's a fun place to work."
Nutt said the Hogs went at less than full speed Monday night to make sure that all assignments were on target.
"We will try to pick up the pace on Tuesday, do the same things in shorts, but a little faster," he said. "It will be a big mental day on Tuesday, our last real practice."
The Hogs sustained no injuries, although Nutt indicated fullback Mark Pierce was slowed a bit by a minor ankle sprain sustained Sunday afternoon.
"It looks like Sacha Lancaster and J. Strain are fine," Nutt said. "I think they will be good to go, but we are still keeping our fingers crossed for J. Strain. So far so good. Sacha looks fine. I think Mark Pierce is okay, too."
The Hogs will practice at their regular time ... around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
Zak Clark (above) displays the new Nike uniform. (Photo by Tom Ewart)
Zak Clark (17) calls for a ball.
J. Strain (87) waits for his turn.
Houston Nutt prepares to fire a pass.
The coaches watch from the sideline Monday night.
Caleb Miller checks out the offense.
Jason Peters (99) poses in a "sweaty" jersey.
Zak Clark (17) does a post-practice report.
The linebackers discuss the new uniforms.
The southwest corner of the SEZ under lights.
The SE corner under lights.
The equipment managers are loading their big wagon.
The Cheer II squad practices inside the Broyles Center.
More Cheer II.
And, this Cheer II member was atop a pyramid.
Here's a closeup of the Nike ball the Hogs will use this season. It's called the small girth ball. It's easier to throw than the Wilson "wide-girth" ball that they used last season.
Here's what the stadium looked like at 7:45 p.m.
Here's what the stadium looked like at 9:20 p.m.
Photos by Clay Henry and Tom Ewart.