Arkansas put the finishing touches on its game plan Thursday with a 90-minute workout in shorts and helmets. Lawrence Richardson and Richard Smith spent most of the day watching the drills, resting their sprained ankle. Both could still play Saturday against North Texas.
"Richard is closer to playing than Lawrence," said Houston Nutt. "If we played tonight of tomorrow, Lawrence would not play. But when we get to Saturday, he might be better."
With experience at corner in Marvin Jackson, Eddie Jackson and Ahmad "Batman" Carroll, Nutt said the Hogs have the luxury of being extra careful with Richardson.
"That's the good thing," he said. "Eddie Jackson has really had a good week and a half of practice and we have a lot of confidence in him for this game. He's really come on."
Nutt was pleased with the work of his squad for the week.
"We had good execution today from the offense," Nutt said. "I like the leadership we've been getting from our seniors. We have a lot of them stepping up. That's why you feel good about this squad."
Matt Jones did not throw much during Thursday's workout, but his shoulder is fine, according to his coaches.
"We were just resting him," Nutt said.
Quarterback coach Roy Wittke said, "We just stayed with our routine from the last couple of weeks with Matt as far as passing. He did some things in our running game, but we didn't have him throw much at all. We've talked this through and if he throws really hard on Tuesday and Wednesday, we try to rest his shoulder on Thursday and Friday and he has his strength to throw hard on Saturday. That's what we did the last two weeks."
Wittke said Jones has had his best week of practice.
"I think he's put it altogether this week," Wittke said. "He's been good every single day. And, Ryan (Sorahan) looked good today. He got a little bit more of the passing work today and it was good for him. It's kinda good the way it's worked out."
Maybe it's his new haircut? Did Wittke ask his lanky QB to cut his golden locks?
"I don't tell him anything about his hair," Wittke laughed. "I think if someone says something about his hair, it probably came from either mom or dad. They are the only ones who would tell him that."
Line coach Tracy Rocker has tried to push his group to even better play this week after a solid performance against Texas.
"I don't want a one-hit wonder," Rocker said. "We've worked hard, hard, hard this week. I think we have some guys coming on and we'll just see if they can be consistent from week to week. I see Titus Peebles coming on. He had a good week and we are going to try to get him some more snaps this week than he's been getting. We'll see if he responds. I've stayed after him all week and I like what he's done."
The Hogs worked extra hard on special teams on Thursday with an eye towards punt coverage, punt protection and kickoff returns.
"North Texas does so many different things there," Nutt said. "They come at you in a lot of different looks in punt block. They've blocked several this year. That's a big part of their game. We know that they are going to come after us this week. And they have faked one about every week. We've given up a first down on a fake punt in our first two games, so you can just bet on it this week since that is something they do. We've worked on that a lot today."
Thursday Grid Report, 9/18
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