It was Thursday (in a normal work week) at the Arkansas practice field as Arkansas tried to hurry through a short week of workouts as the South Carolina game looms. The Hogs play the Gamecocks on Thursday in Little Rock on ESPN.
"We had a good day and we've done a lot to get ready for this game ... a lot of meetings," said Houston Nutt, the UA coach. "We had what would have been a Thursday workout today, with more time for meetings."
The offense went inside Walker Pavilion for the final half of its workout. The defense moved to the stadium to work under lights for the last half of its workout. They finished as sprinkles began to fall. It was a full storm just 10 minutes after the workout was done with lightning bouncing around the stadium.
Nutt announced that Ryan Sorahan would start against South Carolina, but that Matt Jones would also play.
"We are going to stick with what worked last week," Nutt said. "Ryan has gotten the bulk of the workouts. Matt is pretty sore. He's played some at wideout and is ready to play there, too."
As far as when Jones would enter the game, Nutt said he wasn't sure. He said Jones was "sore" all over after the seven overtime game against Kentucky.
"We'll see how it goes," Nutt said. "I just think Ryan deserves it. He's been taking the bulk of the snaps in practice. His timing with our wide receivers is very good. He's hung in there and persevered. I think he deserves it. I thought he moved the team and did some good things last week and he's practiced very well this week."
Quarterback coach Roy Wittke doesn't see a problem with the plan.
"I think Ryan is good with it and so is Matt," Wittke said. "I think what is unusual about Matt is that he truly is a guy who just wants to win. He's told us that if we are doing well, he'll go do whatever it takes to help win games and that could be playing wideout for the entire game. He wants to do whatever it takes to help this team. He's a competitor and wants to win and he's told us he is fine with what we are doing."
Nutt said the Hogs will start DeCori Birmingham at tailback for the second straight week. It appears that De'Arrius Howard will also be ready after sitting out the last two weeks with a sprained ankle.
"De'Arrius has looked good this week," Nutt said. "He's had two really good days. Cedric Cobbs is real sore, but he tells us he will play Thursday night."
Nutt said the Hogs are looking forward to going to Little Rock where his teams are undefeated in his six years as head coach at Arkansas.
"Our players are excited," Nutt said. "We are ready to get on the bus on Wednesday and go to Little Rock. I think we have our legs back. We are telling them they have their legs back. That's what I see. We are healthy and ready to go. The players tell me that they feel good. I see a confidence in them. Winning does that. I see a bounce in their step."
Arkansas free safety Tony Bua thinks the Hogs have their legs and will play well this weekend.
"I think we've been through this enough that we know what to do to get our legs back even in a short week," Bua said. "I've been taking a lot of ice baths and that helps. It gets the lactic acid out of your muscles. It works really well. You get in those ice baths for about 15 minutes. No fun, but it works.
"I talked to a lot of the guys today and it felt pretty good out there. We are going to be fine. You feel some pain some time from your muscles, but you block out pain. It's not real in my mind. Most of the guys have done that and understand that what is real is wins and losses and that pain is not real. I don't think about pain in my body. I just go play.
"We had two good days and now we've got two days to rest all the way up to game time Thursday night. This is a big game and we will be ready."
I love to visit with Tony. He has a way of putting things into perspective.
Also, just thougt I'd throw this out ... Tony Bua has played here for four years and he has two penalties, one against Auburn and one against Florida. That's it. If there are those that think he's a dirty player, I'd probably argue with you a bit. Yes, those were bad penalties, but I'm not going to get on him too much.
One thing that was interesting ... he made zero tackles against Kentucky in the first half. He stayed deep and just played free safety the way it was drawn up.
"I was coming out at halftime and telling Coach Vaughn that I've made zero tackles and if I have another half just like it that we will have won the game," Bua said. "I made a few in the second half, but mainly I just stayed deep and looked for their tricks and tried to make plays 10 yards deep."
Bua recovered the fumble to end the game when Jared Lorenzen kinda shoveled the ball forward when he was short of the first down stakes in the seventh OT.
"I saw him look to the stakes and then look at a WR near me," Bua said. "I knew what he was trying to do ... fumble it forward to the wideout. I just made sure I got to the ball first. I didn't realize how close the wideout was until I saw the film. When I got to the ball, he was on my back pretty quickly."
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