Monday Grid Report, 3/29

Houston Nutt thinks he's got an exciting format for Saturday's Red-White football game. That was the news after a productive workout Monday.

Arkansas worked for about 2 1/2 hours with impressive intensity from start to finish after Houston Nutt chastised his team for a lackluster effort on Saturday.

"You could tell we had a day off to get recharged and our team bounced around and had a good day," Nutt said. "We talked about Saturday's workout, how you can't just try to get through the day. You have to be trying to get better. This was a good practice today and I was pleased with the team.

"We have some guys getting better and having good springs. Guys like Jeb Huckeba, Clarke Moore, Marcus Whitmore, Desmond Sims -- these guys are doing well. I think Cedric Washington is having a great spring. He's about the quickest player we have out here. He's comfortable. We are working him at several spots -- X, Y and H and he knows them and isn't busting plays like he did last year. That just shows his experience."

The Hogs will practice in full pads again Tuesday and will battle in some middle drills early in the day. The rest of the week will be a tuneup for Saturday's major scrimmage, the annual Red-White game which will be conducted with what should be an entertaining format.

"We will make the quarterbacks live Saturday and we'll divide the team for a game-like setting," Nutt said. "But there will be a quarter where we pull everyone off and go good-on-good where we put our first offense againstj our first defense and see what we've got. I think it will be a fun day."

Admission will be free Saturday and the kickoff will be at noon. The east and south stands will be open and concession will be open, too.

Roy Wittke, quarterback coach, said both his top two quarterbacks had good days. Both Matt Jones, now in full pads, and Robert Johnson sparkled in drills.

"Robert is really coming on," Wittke said. "The best thing that could have happened for Robert was for Matt to miss the first week of practice. Robert really struggled the first two days and probably lost some confidence, but since he was the main quarterback with Matt out, he had to stay in there and stay focused and he played through his early problems.

"Robert has gotten better and better. He's footwork has improved and that's really helped his accuracy. He's still got to learn to put a little more touch on the deep ball, but he will get that in the next two weeks, I think."

Wittke said he was stunned when he was told of a weekend commentary in an Arkansas paper which questioned Jones' leadership and his desire to play football.

"Matt is a delight to have with us right now," Wittke said. "He's having fun and has a bounce in his step. Some want to make him into something he's not and have him stand a certain way or act a certain way. You can't put a cookie cutter on him. He's not like everyone else.

"But anyone who thinks he doesn't lead our team is just flat out wrong. He is Arkansas football. He is the guy who our guys follow. He put us on his back in games last year and then he tried to do it with our basketball team, too.

"Put this in your notebook; Matt Jones is the guy I want to go to war with next fall. When the bodies are flying and the excitement is at its highest, he is the guy who will lead this team and every member of this team knows it."


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