Arkansas, now 14th in the nation according to the Associated Press, came out of their huge victory over Texas with few injuries.
Missing from Sunday's light workout were George Wilson (sore knee) and Lawrence Richardson (ankle sprain). Richard Smith (ankle sprain) practiced, but went half speed. Ryan Sorahan practiced after receiving several stitches for a gash on his chin.
Offensive line coach Mike Markuson praised his troops for a solid performance against a fine Texas defensive line.
"All of our guys up front graded out well, but Bo Lacy and Mark Bokermann might have had their best games," Markuson said. "They graded out very high. Shawn Andrews graded high, too, as always. Bo Lacy was opposite their great defensive end and did a great job.
"Our running backs helped us with their second effort. I thought they ran hard. Our receivers blocked well and made some great plays in the passing game, and our quarterbacks played well."
Running backs coach Danny Nutt praised Cedric Cobbs, but said, "He missed some holes or we would have had some other big plays. He can play better, but he did some great things, too. He had seven knockdown blocks, and he had a big one at the point of attack on Cedric Washington's long kickoff return. Washington followed him up the field. Two of his knockdowns were on special teams. Cobbs had a great game, but he can play even better. We have room to improve."
Passing game coordinator Roy Wittke was pleased with Matt Jones' performance, especially at the outset when he hit three straight passes in the Hogs' opening TD drive.
"I think that changed the way Texas played us," Wittke said. "I don't want to say they played soft after that, because I don't think that's the right word. Tentative might be a better word. They backed their safeties up and played them in the passing defense more than the run. They were never a factor in the run defense again until the last five minutes when they had to have the ball.
"Carl Reece, their defensive coordinator, pretty much said that after the game. He said they got out of the things they do best. I think that is accrurate.
"I think we could have thrown it even more, but Matt was hot with the option and that made more sense with the way our defense was playing and the state of where we had the game. We still made some mistakes or we might have scored 50. That sounds strange, but it's the truth."
Head coach Houston Nutt was pleased with what he saw on the film. Here is the summary of his comments from his Sunday press conference:
"It's always good to win, but it's especially good to play against Texas. I can't say enough about the great effort and great plan by our coaches, and the effort of everybody on the sideline. There were three huge plays with our special teams that I think made an unbelievable difference. One was after they picked up Matt's fumble and that was the first time I saw life on the Texas sideline. The whole sideline was moving their helmets up and down and they were really into it, and Cedric Washington took it back and changed the end of the field. That was the biggest (special teams) play. The second-biggest was Batman (Ahmad Carroll) knocking back Jacob Skinner's punt and keeping them on the four-yard line. The third was the punt, getting the punt off with a nine- or 10-man rush. That was phenomenal. I'm proud of Brett Goode, I'm proud of Jacob Skinner, I'm proud of our coverage teams and our defense.
"Our defense just chased the ball all day long. We didn't let anything outside. I thought (Jimmy) Beasley was back to himself and (Tony) Bua played extremely well in centerfield. There were some other heroes that showed up like Jeb Huckeba, who knocked the ball down on the option; Elliott Harris, he tackled the guy on the sweep reverse, puts the helmet right on the ball, and the ball comes loose, which was big; and Eddie Jackson played very well. We had to roll a lot of defensive linemen in. I was so proud of Jeremy Harrell, Jason Peters – he had four snaps on the defensive line, but he had tremendous push, and when Jeb Huckeba knocked that ball down, he was pushing their line back and chasing the ball. He had great effort on both sides. That's good to see.
"Caleb Miller was just all over the field. He played 65 snaps. We want to try and get him some rest, but it's hard to take him off the field. Sam Olajubutu, he's coming, Pierre Brown, they keep getting better. Clarke Moore and Caleb Miller, did a good job in there. Justin Scott is just a blue collar guy that just comes to work. He might not show up on the stats, but he's holding his own, and he's going against some big people. The attitude and the effort, and the preparation were the key. You go into that type of environment and you have to be focused. These guys were very focused and I'm just proud of them.
"Now you have to come back down quickly. You look across the country and Louisiana Tech beats Michigan State, at Michigan State; UNLV beats Wisconsin. We see it more and more every year and it's really simple. It's parity in college football and we're facing one of those teams (North Texas). This is a scary, scary game. I'm very concerned because we did use so much energy and emotion. We got a few guys bruised. You have to go week to week. This is an important week to come back and get ready."
Arkansas' new ranking:
"I wish they wouldn't (rank us). I wish they would keep us where we were. I think we were around No. 34 or something. That's what really concerns you about this week – is a lot of pats on the back, everybody is writing good things and everybody is saying we're good now. It just worries you. The one thing that gives me hope is the senior class. Our seniors have given us great leadership, but never listen to anything that has been written this year. They've been on a mission with intensity and focusing on the task at hand. We have to have that this week.
"You want to be ranked and it's going to help recruiting. We've gotten more positive feedback in the last 24 hours than in a long time. That's from Arkansas and Texas kids, mostly.
"It's really big (beating Texas). We had a couple of calls list night (from recruits). They watched the game. Some former players called and other recruits Daddy's were calling them to call us. It was a really good night. The next two nights we will have good recruiting nights, as far as phone calls go."
UA's defensive line:
"I think those guys didn't get to tackle enough, but they were so prepared and so ready to go, so focused on their job. Justin Scott, Elliott Harris, Chase Pressley, Scott Davenport, Arrion Dixon, Jeb Huckeba, Brandon Holmes, Wes Murphy, those guys are really coming. And then you add Jeremy Harrell and (Jason) Peters, and it gives you a lift.
"I really think they tried to run the ball. I think they had purpose and intent to hand the ball off to Cedric Benson. Our guys didn't allow that to happen. I know they are a good team. They have a good club. I can only go by our guys. Our guys really played hard and hustled, and were relentless. That's the word I love. They played every snap.
"We're in great shape. I have to give a lot of credit to Don Decker. It was a hot day. We're in good condition. We did have to roll some people, but overall, when Caleb Miller goes that many plays and plays as hard as he did from the first play to the last play, we're in good condition."
"We really wanted to make the pass help the run. We started out getting Matt on the move. George Wilson had a great day, one of his best. What a leader, what a captain for us. Matt throws a perfect ball and just starts it. I think with setting up the pass really helped the run as the game went on. To hold the ball for 35 minutes, you're doing some good things, you're executing. Bo Lacy had eight knockdowns, Shawn Andrews had eight or nine, Jerry Reith and Mark Bokermann – they didn't bust. Dan Doughty had his hands full with that 315-pound nose guard. He didn't win all of them, but he fought. Even if it's a tie, it helped us sometimes like allowing Cedric Cobbs to get to the line on an isolation play. Kyle Roper will continue to get more plays. (Tony) Ugoh and (Zac) Tubbs, those guys probably didn't get but seven or eight snaps, but we're going to continue to get those guys more plays. I was excited about our running game because it was physical."
UA's defensive game plan:
"Bua played a good game. He played the middle third, the deep third as well as you can play it. He didn't have any missed tackles this week like last week. He's getting better at his position. We just want to keep improving. We had to pick our poison a little bit on when to blitz and when not to blitz. Roy Williams, as you noticed, is one of the best receivers in the country. He's hard to cover. He's a running back when he gets the ball. There are still some things we have to get better at and we'll address that today."
"Matt was just in a zone where you didn't want to break the rhythm. Ryan took a shot. We wanted to put him back in the game, but the way the game was going, we were making first downs and keeping the clock moving. With the option we kind of had them on their heels. I really expect to play Matt 14 or 15 plays at receiver and let Ryan have five or six series to let him execute. I still believe in Ryan."
"There's no way he could run like he did if he was hurt. That was all blown out of proportion."
"I think George Wilson is the most under-rated receiver in the SEC. Richard Smith is very productive. Those guys are older, they've seen every defense and they know how to adjust. We have a good group. If you notice, we're not playing George Wilson 70 snaps. There's no way he could be full speed at that many plays. But you keep him at 40 plays and he makes that one-handed catch. He makes the diving catch across the middle. That's what has helped us, and then we have speed with Steven Harris and Chris Baker that you have to respect or we'll throw it deep."
Getting players ready for the next game:
"I'm going to tell players if we stay focused and play one game at a time, we'll have a good highlight at the end of the year. The reason we were ready to go was because we had great practice."
"When you beat a program like that, it's a great feeling. When you grow up, you know about that. I just know the state of Arkansas is a little happier this week because the roots go so deep. It's a great feeling. I wish we could sit here and talk about it for two or three weeks, but you have to go on. Mack Brown doesn't feel good, and I wouldn't feel good if we had lost. That's the thing about working with 18 and 19 year olds. You have to get them going again this week. They (this week's opponent) don't have Texas on their helmets, it's North Texas."
"They win bowl games. They recruit players right there in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. (DT) Brandon Kennedy, we turned him down and he's an All-American. They have some talented players."
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