Sunday Grid Report, 9/5

Arkansas went back to work Sunday as preparations began for Texas' trip to the Ozarks this coming weekend. Arkansas tried to correct the mistakes from the 66-13 victory over New Mexico State.

Arkansas worked for about one hour Sunday evening in shorts as preparations began for Saturday's nonconference game with Texas. The Hogs worked in shorts, correcting mistakes from Saturday night's 63-13 victory over New Mexico State.

They finished the day with a 15-minute conditioning run with assistant coach Tracy Rocker working to see if he could outrun any of his defensive linemen. He did not pass anyone, although he definitely moved faster than I expected.

Houston Nutt thought his team passed its first test in flying colors, but pointed out that there were 10 penalties and many first-game mistakes. He noted that his club will have to play much better in week two if it has any hope of beating a tough Texas squad

Injury Report after Sunday's evening workout:

Jared Hicks has a sprained shoulder and is the most serious of the UA injured. He is not much better this afternoon than he was last night. He looked in discomfort when I saw him at 4 p.m. He did not practice. His arm was in a sling. He will get daily treatment. He is listed as day to day. He should play against Texas. If he can't play, they will pull the redshirt on Marc Winston. They want a three-man rotation at TE.

Titus Peebles had his ankle in a boot and he did not practice, either. He is day to day, too, but they think he will practice Tuesday and definitely will play.

Marcus Harrison took a helmet to his knee and has a small bruise on a knee. He practiced, but did not do the conditioning at the end of practice.

Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt met with the media earlier Sunday afternoon before meeting with his team. Here are his remarks:

It's always good to win the first one and you never know when you come out with this many young guys. We felt good about the camp and all the preparations. You're always nervous, because you know what the same team did last year and with so many unknowns you just didn't know what to expect. I thought we came out and played with some intensity and a lot of enthusiasm. Our fans they really set the tempo when we got off the bus. That was the best greeting we've ever had. It was awesome and I really appreciate that. I know our players do too.

Our guys played hard and that's what I'm proud. When you watch the film that's what you're most proud of, the effort and the energy they've used on all special teams. I thought our defensive line really set the tempo. Jeb Huckeba and Arrion Dixon probably played his best game as a Razorback. Hopefully he's going to build on that. Jeb was very good and Titus Peebles, Jeremy Harrell, Marcus Harrison and Fred Bledsoe. Derek Moore played extremely hard when he got in the game. I think they set the tempo, were able to get us some turnovers and then we didn't have far to go.

The other question was about the offensive line and I thought they were really good. Kyle Roper, Gene Perry, Steve Parker and Tony Ugoh were very, very good at times. I think the first two drives were very good. We built on that. Our receivers were making the big plays for us and I thought Matt (Jones) took care of the ball for us and executed.

I really felt good about Robert Johnson coming in and he took care of the ball and really showed some confidence. That really helped him. We needed that. He got in there early, in the first half and I thought that was important. It also helps when you're up, but to really get in there for the first time and it's not a mop up situation. He really executed the plays we worked on.

Some things we have to get better at in a hurry, like when Dallas Washington picked up the fumble we can't have that touchdown called back. That's a guy trying to give great effort, but they really know they can't block behind the ball. You've got to learn from that. That was a foolish penalty. We didn't have a lot of illegal procedures and that was encouraging.

On preparing for the Texas game:

You feel good about winning the first game, but now we're getting ready to play a real good team, so we have to have a great week of preparation. We're getting ready to see one of the greatest gatherings of recruits on one team that you'll ever see. They looked very good last night and Cedric Benson is running at a different level. Then they have a speed back and a quarterback that is very elusive. They've got a great football team.

They're going to be tough. They have a new offensive line coach and a defensive coordinator and they've really emphasized toughness. They're really stressing rushing the football, being able to run it and being able to stop the run. It looks like they've gotten back to some basic fundamentals. It's going to be interesting.

On Cedric Benson:

Cedric Benson is running so differently than he ran last year to me. He's got more power, more confidence. Then they put the other back in with more speed. It's kind of like what we do with DeCori (Birmingham), then De'Arrius Howard and then Peyton (Hillis). That combination of power and speed is tough on defenses.

The Arkansas-Texas game tradition:

We're a different team now with a lot younger guys and I don't know how much they know about Texas. It scared me to death when we got off the bus yesterday and saw 10 students wearing "Beat Texas" t-shirts. We needed to beat New Mexico State first. That's where our fans are. They're thinking about one game and they have a right to do that. Our younger guys probably don't truly understand that tradition of Arkansas-Texas. They (Texas) are truly talented every year and they look the same: bigger and faster than just about everyone. They always look good in uniform.

On focusing the team for Texas:

We've got to have a great week of practice. We've got to improve and we've got a chance to get better from our first game to our second game. We're playing the No. 7 or 6 ranked team in the country and a team full of athletes on every special team. These guys can run and play.

The only thing we need to worry about it getting better in practice. I want them going to school during the day and practicing really good in the afternoon. That's the one thing we had last week was a really great focus getting ready for game week. You can't be distracted. If you want to be on the field with these guys you can't be distracted. You've got to take care of the business at hand.

I'm glad we're at home. At glad we have the home field advantage. We're going to have to play four solid quarters of sound football without turning the ball over, without getting hurt in special teams. I really worry about the speed of their special teams. We haven't played them that many times, but we've been fortunate enough that the ball did bounce our way and we got some momentum and won.


We're not sure about Jared Hicks right now. It's his shoulder and it may be a slight separation. He played about seven or eight plays after it happened. I don't know how many practices he's going to miss this week. If Jared doesn't make it back we'll probably think about using Marc Winston. Marc is a guy with a big body that you'd love to redshirt, but you really need three (tight ends).

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