No April Fools jokes were apparent at Arkansas' football practice Thursday, but there were some who suggested a couple as Matt Jones, as expected, took the day off to attend a late-afternoon class.
Jones was given permission to miss Thursday's when he joined the team after a week off to collect his thoughts and catchup on school work after playing basketball this winter. The April Fool's joke thrown about to some who came to practice late Thursday was that Jones had gone AWOL and would miss the remainder of drills to contemplate his future.
But after the way things have been blown out of proportion over the last 10 days concerning Jones' status with the football team, it was decided by all not to use that story.
Jones will rejoin the squad on Friday when the Hogs go through a final tuneup before the major scrimmage of the spring at noon Saturday in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. There is no admission charge for Saturday's scrimmage, called the Red-White game.
"We will take off the pads on Friday and go through things concerning the scrimmage like it's the day before a game," said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. "We'll even have a meal together on Friday night. We'll see if we can come close to simulating a game atmosphere and see how people handle some pressure situations."
Nutt said the scrimmage will be the first team against "everybody else," but he did not that there will be one quarter, most likely to start the second half, when the first offense will square off against the first defense to get "some good on good."
"We want to see what our top wideouts will do against our top corners, and vice versa," Nutt said. "So we'll go first against first units.
"In the past, we've divided teams and had a true game, but we don't have enough players at some positions to do that. It wouldn't be very even. This is a better situation, but I think it's going to be fun. It will be a true scrimmage and will have some length to it."
It will also have some true hitting. Quarterbacks have worn "no contact" green jerseys all through spring drills, but they will be gone for this scrimamge.
"The quarterbacks will be live and there will be sacks," Nutt said, noting there will be no quick whistles even when Jones, the lone returning offensive starter, is at the helm.
Jones will be the starter with the first offense, but he will give way to Robert Johnson for part of the snaps with the first team. Johnson has been the backup at quarterback this spring.
"Matt will get plenty," Nutt said. "But he's not going to take all of the snaps with the first offense. We want Robert to get some of those, too."
Nutt said Thursday's workout drug at the end.
"We are about three fourths of the way through spring and we've got quite a few bumps and bruises," Nutt said. "Some guys are sore and are slowing down. You could sense when we got close to 6 p.m. today that there were guys thinking, 'It's almost over, and I can ease up.' Well, I pulled them together and we talked about that. It's like the fourth quarter. You can't slow down. That's when you have to push it to another gear and try to win the game. That's what I was talking to them about."
Clarke Moore missed the end of the workout after taking a hit to the lower stomach area in some contact work at the start of drills. Sam Olajubutu took his snaps with the first team at middle linebacker. Offensive guard Robert Felton limped through some of the snaps with a leg injury, but did not come off of the field.
Thursday Grid Report, 4/1
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