Friday Grid Report, 4/2
Arkansas worked for a little over an hour Friday in shorts and helmets to put the finishing touches on the offensive and defensive game plans for Saturday's Red-White scrimmage.
Head coach Houston Nutt said it was a lively practice and accomplished its mission of reviving the legs of the players ahead of the scrimmage.
"We want everyone fresh so they can look their best," Nutt said. "Some are competing for starting jobs. They are anxious and excited. You can feel an air of enthusiasm in the air."
The first half will match the first teams against "everyone else," and then the first offense will play against the second defense in the third quarter.
Matt Jones will start at quarterback, but will take only about 25 snaps before giving way to Robert Johnson at quarterback. It will be Johnson under center when the first teams square off in the second half.
"We've seen Matt under pressure," said quarterback coach Roy Wittke. "We need to see what Robert Johnson can do. We need to put as much pressure on Robert as we can and the only way to do it is to put him in there against the first defense in this scrimmage."
Nutt said there will be few blitzes at the outset, but that the restraints will fall off as the day progresses.
"When we get into the second half, we'll let both sides turn it loose and see what happens," Nutt said. "I'm excited to see what the first teams will do against each other. We've gone ones on ones about 15 plays this spring. Some days the offense has done better, some days the defense has won."
That's fine with Wittke. He said the offense has been working against the blitz for the last week and has seen multiple looks from the defense.
"We've got some checks and some plays we'll let Robert call from the line," said Wittke. "Robert has seen the blitz for the last few days and done well against it. We look forward to seeing what he can do against the blitz."
Kickoff will be at noon Saturday in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. There is no admission charge. Seating will be open in the lower levels of the east and south stands. Concessions stands will be open.
Nutt said plans are to scrimmage for around one hour, 15 minutes, but we will play four quarters and let the clock roll.
"We'll go as long as it takes to get what we need," Nutt said. "We won't return kicks. We will have kickoffs and punts and let the return man catch it. We haven't put in enough of our coverage teams to feel like we can go live there. We'll just catch the ball and blow the whistle. Everything else will be live."
There will be live local radio with Chuck Barrett doing the play-by-play on FM 98.3 beginning at noon. Television coverage will be split into different time slots in different areas of the state, both on a taped delay basis. In Northwest Arkansas, the coverage will be at 9 p.m. on KPBI Fox 46. In Little Rock, KATV will have the coverage at 7 p.m. There will be a replay in Northwest Arkansas on Sunday at 6 p.m. on KFDF UPN 10.
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