Grid Update, 4/6

Arkansas put the ball down for a 45-minute scrimmage on special situations Tuesday with the defense holding the upper hand for much of the football practice.

Defense dominated much of the afternoon as Arkansas coach Houston Nutt tested his team in special situations Tuesday afternoon in a full pads practice in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Nutt wanted to see the Hogs try to move the ball off of their own goal line and then turned the other way to work on red zone scoring situations. Defense bested the offense for most of both scenarios.

The first defense stuffed the second offense for a safety and then the second defense did the same to the first offense when Robert Johnson tripped and fell backwards into the end zone while pulling away from the center.

In red zone situations, the offense scored three times with De'Arrius Howard powering over on fourth down from the 1-yard line, Dedrick Poole scampering outside for a 22-yard run and Johnson firing a pass to Carlos Ousley on a perfect post-corner route from 25 yards out.

There were also two lost fumbles by the offense, one of them by Poole and another on a reverse by Cedric Washington when he couldn't handle a pitchback from Johnson. The defense held on four other sets of downs in the red zone. Chris Baleseiro was two of four on medium-range field goals.

The Hogs will finish spring drills with their 15th workout on Wednesday with a major scrimmage. Nutt said the team will take the field at 6 p.m., and put the ball down around 6:30 p.m. for a lengthy hitting session.

"Every single day we've gotten better," Nutt said. "We've tried to get them mentally tougher today and over the past few days. We've tried to make it like the fourth quarter where you make it harder over the last three days.

"We will hit again Wednesday and look at some more different situations. It's been real good and I'm pleased with this spring.

"What we've asked them to do is play as hard as they can and try to get better. We've worked hard on fundamentals and we've also gotten in plenty of contact.

"I think sometimes people look for beautiful touchdown passes to make their judgment on how things are going, but that's not what it's all about. It's about getting better and making improvement every step of the way and that's what this team has done. They've worked hard. They've listened and gotten better."

Nutt said he saw both sides of the ball improve over the last two days.

"It's been tough on our young offensive line because the defense has really moved around," Nutt said. "Early, we were in a lot of base defense and they knew where those guys were going to be and it was easier to block them. Our guys have been moving the last few days and it's been harder. It's tough when you are trying to block a moving target. But they are getting better."

Defensively, Nutt praised end Jeb Huckeba, linebackers Clarke Moore and Marcus Whitmore, along with defensive tackle Jeremy Harrell.

"I thought Clarke Moore had his best day Monday and he looked good today, too," Nutt said. "Clarke has gotten better and we've seen our defense play real physical the last few days."

Matt Jones spent most of the practice watching while Johnson and others got the snaps at quarterback.

"Robert improved in some areas today, but not in some others," said Roy Wittke, the quarterback coach. "Robert hit the post corner, but he wasn't accurate in some other areas. He's got to be more consistent."


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