UA Tuesday Grid Report

As its opener with New Mexico State draws closer, the Arkansas football team works on what the Aggies do and continues to firm up its own strategy.

The hay may not be in the barn, but the full pad look is out until Saturday.

That's what University of Arkansas head football coach Houston Nutt had to say after Tuesday's full-pad practice in preparation for Saturday's season opener with New Mexico State.

It was a practice that had him pleased.

"This is the first day we have really got into the scouting report and got real thorough with it," Nutt said. "Guys bounced around and are they very anxious to play. We are all very anxious to get out there, but there is still some things that we have got to get corrected and work on, but it is getting awfully close."

He got so much from his team during the workout that he called off extra conditioning work.

"I had every intention of running three gassers today, but when they are running hard and chasing the ball from period one on, it's just hard to do that," Nutt said. "We are in very pretty good shape. We ran them good Friday, pretty good Saturday and Sunday. We had three good work days while it was pretty hot."

True freshman Marcus Harrison - who prepped at Hargrave Military School last year - and Jamaal Anderson continued working 1-2 at the bandit defensive end spot ahead of upperclassmen.

"Both guys came to work," Nutt said. "...The reason you show Marcus Harrison and Jamaal Anderson there where they are talented . They got a couple of breaks and a couple of injuries. These guys are running fast and chasing the ball. They don't know what to do every time, but they do it full speed and they are making plays. We've got to give them a chance."

Although Nutt released a depth chart on Monday, he said he did so begrudgingly.

"I don't like depth charts sometimes," Nutt said. "Sometimes it is deflating. You are moving somebody up and taking somebody else down. Today we had to make sure the guys who had their name third or fourth didn't give up. You are a play away and you never know."

Despite a broken finger that sidelined him for a portion of preseason work, sophomore fullback Brandon Kennedy had his name first on that depth chart and his coach doesn't think it will bother him on Saturday.

"I don't think it will, " Nutt said. "(UA Director of Medicine) Dean (Weber) will tape it up the best he can legally and he'll go try and look somebody up and hit some one. He has been so consistent for us. I think he has got enough experience where he'll go play like there is nothing wrong with him."

True freshman Peyton Hillis is listed as Kennedy's backup, but Nutt reiterated that the former Conway standout will see time at both fullback and tailback.

"Absolutely," Nutt said. "It's hard to sit down and say how many plays he is going to get here and how many plays he is going to get there. It depends on the flow of the game, what's happening, what do we need and things like that."

Nutt also stressed how his team is looking solely at its opener and not at its second game with Texas as some UA fans might be doing.

"They tackle really well," Nutt said. "They have got a couple of linebackers that everybody is watching. This is a tough opener. There is no way you kind go into the game thinking anything but that."

Nutt also noted:

Chris Houston and Dedrick Poole have won spots as the gunners on the punt coverage team.

• Cedric Washington will not be back on the kickoff return team because of more wideout responsibilities, but DeCori Birmingham, Peyton Hillis, Poole and Michael Grant will get their chance to make plays back there.

• That Arkansas plans to use as many as seven fullbacks and tailbacks to run the football on Saturday.


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