Saturday Grid Report, 12/20

After plenty of hitting over the last 10 days, Arkansas backed off of the contact in a morning workout Saturday inside Walker Pavilion

Arkansas had done enough contact in the first 10 days of bowl practice, so Houston Nutt backed off of the hitting Saturday morning. The Hogs worked for about two hours in sweats and shoulder pads.

The Razorbacks did not have free safety Tony Bua for the workout after the senior took a blow to his knee in Friday's workout.

"We don't think it's serious, just a bruise," Nutt said. "He had range of motion back this morning and we wanted to hold him out. We'll see how it feels on Sunday before deciding if he'll practice or not."

Nutt said the team had a solid workout on Saturday, putting the final touches on the Mizzou game plan. He said concentration was solid and he called it a "good mental day."

Nutt said the bowl practices have been solid from start to finish.

"We've really locked in hard on improving our fundamentals, especially with the younger players, and I think we've done that," Nutt said. "We've had great practices. I know we have improved. We had a good workout today. We worked on third-down situations, goal line and really worked hard on special teams."

Senior wide receiver Richard Smith is looking forward to a homecoming in the Independence Bowl, set for Dec. 31 at Shreveport, La. That is Smith's hometown and he's played several times in Independence Stadium.

"We played some high school games there," Smith said. "The field is different now. It was grass then. The surface is just like we have here in Walker Pavilion, so that will be good."

Smith said he's gotten 22 tickets from teammates for the bowl game to take care of his requests from family members.

"It's going to be fun for me, going home to play in front of that many family members," Smith said. "I'm really looking forward to that."

Wideout coach James Shibest said he's detected excitement in Smith's practice.

"He's really up for this one," Shibest said. "Why not? It's his final game for the Razorbacks and it will be played at home. I think if you don't know Richard, you might not see it, because he is so laid back. His personality is to be real cool. But I see it and sense that he is really going to be ready for this game. I suspect he'll have a big game."

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