Tuesday Grid Report, 8/24

Safety Vickiel Vaughn sparkled in Tuesday's workout, but some other Hogs didn't fare as well on a day when the heat got the best of them.

The heat, full pads and the second day of school caught up with Arkansas in a two-hour football workout Tuesday.

Temperatures were around the 90 degree mark, hotter than that on the artificial turf where much of the practice took place.

"We didn't respond," said Houston Nutt. "School, pads and the sun wasn't a good combination. Hopefully, we will come back and do better tomorrow."

That may have been the case for many of the players, but it wasn't the case for free safety Vickiel Vaughn. He took advantage of an off day by Matt Jones to pick off three passes and had his hand on a fourth interception.

"Coach (Bobby) Allen said I should have just batted that one down, but the tight end took it away from me," Vaughn said.

Vaughn stepped in front of receivers to grab two of his interceptions. A third was the result of a muff by a wideout. Someone asked after practice if he was Jones' leading receiver on the day.

"I don't mind being Matt's leading receiver," Vaughn laughed. "Matt is a great quarterback, but everybody has a bad day from time to time."

Vaughn has had a solid fall camp, according to Allen, the Hogs' secondary coach.

"He gets lined up right in our schemes and he's making plays," Allen said. "He's improved his ball skills and some of it is confidence in the scheme. We tell our guys that if you line up right and play with aggression, you are going to be in position a lot of times to make a play. That's the way it is for Vickiel right now."

Vaughn said, "It's my time to be a leader and a playmaker. I try my best to be a playmaker. But, in reality, it's just a case of playing the scheme. The coaches make the calls that take me to the ball."

Allen said, "That's a fair assessment. That's why we call certain coverages. Vickiel is right on target there."

It may have been that the heat was just what the coached had hoped they would get at some point this August. After a couple of weeks of temperatures hardly out of the 70s, it seemed as though Tuesday was a scorcher.

"We want to see how they will do under fatigue under hot conditions," Allen said. "We know that when we play a game, things will be much faster and you will burn up body fluids much faster because of adrenalin. Today was a good day to see some things. Some guys pushed through it, some others did not. We'll look closely at this film and who does well on Wednesday."

Robert Felton, the left guard fighting through a sore knee, was not able to finish the workout.

"He limped around today," Nutt said. "He tried to go and wasn't able to do it all. He's going to have to go back (to the training room) for more treatment. He's not ready yet. He wants to go, but he's not ready yet."

Other injured Hogs tried to fight through the hot conditons, too. Fullback Brandon Kennedy practiced without the cast that has protected his broken pinky finger, but fumbled early in the workout when he tried to take a handoff with that hand.

While some of the offensive players struggled, defensive coordinator Dave Wommack praised some players in his unit. He had special remarks for junior college transfer Darius Vinnett, a potential starter at cornerback.

"I have no reservations about putting Vinnett out there," Wommack said. "He's solid in my eyes. He's done everything very well. There are some others doing well, too, but Vinnett is very solid at that corner.

"I think we are doing well at safety, too. We are faster than we've been at safety. That is obvious. We don't have as much experience, but I see things that tell me we are faster. We get our hands on more passes. All of our safeties have more speed and that is the veterans and the younger ones."

Nutt said there some solid periods early in the day when the Hogs stressed special teams.

"We put some heat on our punt team and they did well," Nutt said. "Brett Goode snapped the ball well, and Jacob Skinner got off some good punts. Skinner has done well. The guys catching punts, DeCori Birmingham and Carlos Ousley, did a nice job, too."

Later in the day, things began to fall apart in some areas.

"Our seniors have to step up and lead when that happens," Nutt said. "It's about making sure you get meaningful reps all the way through the practice. We faded at the end. I'm not in a good mood right now."

Vickiel Vaughn hauls in a pass in workouts.

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