Monday Grid Report, 9/1

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt turned a disciplinary problem over to his seniors after Monday's workout.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said after practice Monday that Mark Pierce would not start against Tulsa and may miss the first half after the junior fullback was charged with disorderly conduct over the weekend.

"The seniors are disciplining him now, and I'll talk to him about what suspension we give Mark, but it will be at least one half of the (Tulsa) game," Nutt said. "This was not a situation with drugs or alcohol. Mark showed disrespect for a police officer. This is about respecting authority. He's got to use common sense and walk away."

Nutt said Pierce went to a nightclub to pickup his girl friend and then there was an encounter with a policemen there.

"Mark was given a test and he passed the test, so there was no alcohol involved," Nutt said. "But there is no excuse for disrespecting authority. Words were exchanged in the incident. There was not enough respect shown to authority."

Nutt said Brandon Kennedy will start at fullback, and that this incident should not tarnish Kennedy's performance in fall camp.

"Brandon has had a great camp and he deserves to start," Nutt said. "Don't let this take away from what Brandon has done this fall. He has been greaat."

Pierce has missed much of the contact this fall with a partially dislocated shoulder. He has been held out of middle drills and goal line scrimmages with Kennedy getting the bulk of the work.

Nutt said he was proud of the seniors, announcing that six had been selected as captains. The players voted and Nutt said the ballot was so tight that he added two more to the four that received the most votes.

"It was so close between those six that we picked two more and got it to six," Nutt said. "All six are deserving. We've had great senior leadership. The seniors have taken complete ownership of this team. I love these seniors."

The captains will be Caleb Miller, George Wilson, Bo Lacy, Justin Scott, Tony Bua and Jimmy Beasley. Miller, starting inside linebacker, was in charge of Pierce's punishment after practice Monday. Pierce had to run with an up-and-down on his belly followed by pushups and situps every 10 yards.

Nutt called Monday's workout, moved indoors because of rain, enthusiastic and spirited.

"This (situation with Pierce) should not distract from what we did today," Nutt said. "Don't make it into more than it is. Mark knows he is in the doghouse. Our practice was very good. You can tell it's game week. Our players were excited. They want to play the game."

It was obvious that the pace was quicker and coaches and players alike were on the same page throughout the workout. It was one of the squad's sharpest workouts of the preseason.

Both Matt Jones and Ryan Sorahan worked extensively at quarterback with Jones taking most of the snaps with the first team in pass skeleton and the team portions of practice. Jones showed no ill effects from a jammed finger on his throwing hand that limited his time at quarterback on Thursday and Friday.

Nutt said he didn't know how he would rotate them in the game Saturday. He did say that Jones would start and that both would play.

The UA head coach said the Hogs would still like to practice under the lights one night this week, possibly Tuesday night. Plans to have a night workout Sunday night were scrapped.

"We didn't go out last night," Nutt said. "We had a long team meeting and then the seniors and I had a talk."

Nutt indicated that the extra meeting with seniors was to discuss the Pierce situation.

Both Arrion Dixon and Jimarr Gallon practiced at full speed on Monday. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said he was sure that Dixon would play against Tulsa on Saturday night, but that it would be a game time decision on Gallon.

"We'll check with Dean Webber on both, but I'd say from what Arrion did today and what he's been doing, he's going to be cleared (to play)," Wommack said. "Jimarr is going to have to tell us and we'll have to trust him. He'll have to be truthful on how it feels. We don't want to cause some damage that will set him back further so it's important for him to tell us what it feels like and then we'll base the decision somewhat on that."

Nutt said despite Tulsa's loss at Minnesota over the weekend, he expected a tough challenge when the Hurricane visits Fayetteville.

"You guys who have been around here are familiar with the way Tulsa plays when they come here," he said. "They'll have their people make the trip because it's close and they will give us all we want. It's always a tough game when Tulsa comes here."

Nutt said he is somewhat familiar with TU coach Steve Kragthorpe since he interviewed for the UA quarterback coach job three years ago when David Lee was hired.


Hawgs Daily Top Stories