Wideouts "Steal" Show at Scrimmage

The wide receivers displayed big-play ability once again as Arkansas wowed an estimated 6,100 Saturday night for Fan Appreciation Day at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

The wideouts were the stars Saturday night. They went high above the secondary to make five or six catches. As one 9-year-old boy told this writer as he exited the stadium, "Our wide receivers are thiefs. They take the ball away from anyone that's near them."

That's been a common theme of almost every practice the last two weeks as the wideouts have sparkled every day.

"It's been that way all camp," said Jones. "You put it in the area, and they are going to go up and get the ball. They are so athletic. You've got 6-6 and 6-7 guys like Marcus Monk and Anthony Brown, but then the others like Cedric Washington and Steven Harris have the ability to leap and make those same kinds of plays, too.

"I've yet to see Marcus Monk drop a ball. He's so consistent. He's been very good all camp and the others have been good, too."

Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt singled out the wideouts for their play Saturday night.

"The wide recievers were excellent," Nutt said. "We do have a height advantage with some of them. They go up and get the ball. They need to continue to work on their blocking, but they are playmakers.

"I thought our wideouts did a good job tonight. They play like 6-6 guys. Monk and Brown did some really good things. Our three new ones, and that's putting Cedric Logan with those two, are a fine receiving corps. They are very good."

James Shibest, who coaches the wideouts, said he's having a "fun camp" coaching his new guys.

"I had some seniors last year who made it fun, but it's fun helping some new guys," Shibest said. "I've been happy all camp and I'm happy with what they did tonight.

"I saw some things in the blocking tonight that makes me think they can cover up some guys and be physical. They will get the blocking done to help the running game. They are so eager to please and do things to help the team. They may not be as physical as George Wilson right now, but we will get there."

Monk and fullback Farod Jackson each had two catches and nine others had one catch as the wideouts shared the load.

The scrimmage lasted 51 plays, not counting kicking situations. Houston Nutt said he planned to go another 20-25 plays, but decided to cut it short because of a severe shoulder injury to quarterback Landon Leach on Saturday night and the one to Felton on Friday afternoon.

The Hogs made 184 yards on the ground on 29 snaps. The passing was solid, too. The quarterbacks combined to complete 13 of 22 for 168 yards with two interceptions.

Matt Jones was four of six for 103 yards and two touchdowns.

Alex Mortensen was 7 of 9 for 103 yards and two touchdowns. He had an early interception, then settled in for a good night.

Robert Johnson was just two of six for 15 yards. He had an interception, a ball that was mishandled by the wideout and picked off by Michael Coe. Coe also had the interception thrown by Mortensen. Johnson was effecting running the ball, with three carries for 60 yards, including a 49-yard rumble.

Leach was 0 of 1 passing. He also lost a fumble when he was sacked.

Peyton Hillis carried three tims for 43 yards, including a 39-yarder when he plowed through defenders in the secondary. He also caught 1 pass for 22 yards, running over a defensive back at the 5-yard line and then plowing into another just short of the goal line. He also had a 2-yard touchdown run.

DeCori Birmingham carried three times for 30 yards, including a 27-yarder. Dedrick Poole had five carries for 24 yards.

Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack was pleased with the first group and didn't worry too much about the big plays produced by the offense against the second and third defenses.

"We have some weapons on offense, we realy do," he said. "I think they are going to make plays on about anybody. I've seen too much of them already to think otherwise. Those big wideouts are something to watch.

"I think our ones did well on both sides of the ball. I thought our ones on defense played well. What I liked most was the effort. I've sween that from this team on both sides of the ball for two weeks. I love the effort. This team is getting better and working to be what they want them to be.

"This is a very close team and is going to play hard. I think there were some mistakes tonight, but I know we played hard and gave effort. They'll continue to do that and I think you'll start to see fewer and fewer mistakes because they want to learn."

Landon Leach reinjured his right shoulder. The trainers said it appeared to pop out of joint again. The doctors will check it further, but it appears to be a serious injury.

There were no other injuries Saturday night.

Trainers also said that Robert Felton's knee injury is a strain. He will be evaluated again later this week. They will know more then. He did not have crutches or any form of support for the knee tonight. It does not appear to be a serious sprain.

Cedric Logan did not practice. His leg bruise is improving and he should be able to return to workouts early this week.

Skye Peterson's broken finger is healing. He will return to practice when he can stand the discomfort.

"I wanted to go longer, I really did," Houston Nutt said. "But I got a little nervous after Felton's injury yesterday and the one to Landon tonight. You hate that for Landon, but you have to scrimmage some."

Peyton Hillis heads for the goal line on a short touchdown run.

Attendance was estimated at 6,100.

Matt Jones keeps on an early play in the scrimmage.

Alex Mortensen hands off.

Houston Nutt watches the scrimmage.

Photos by Clay Henry

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