Arkansas returned to full pads Tuesday afternoon with a long, physical workout with much attention paid to special teams and Texas plays and formations.
Tight end Jared Hicks (shoulder sprain) did not dress in full pads, but went through some early parts of the workout. Titus Peebles (ankle sprain) and Marcus Harrison (leg bruise), both among the regulars in the defensive line, were in full pads, but were less than full speed.
"Jared Hicks was better today," Houston Nutt said. "We think he will continue to do a little more each day and be able to play by Saturday night. The others are closer (to being ready) than Jared."
Nutt noted that Texas presents an extremely physical presence on both sides of the ball.
"Texas has always been physical on defense, but they are more physical this year and more physical at the point of attack on offense," he said. "You can see it on film. They really have a commitment to run the ball. They are very scary in the way they can pound you and then they have all of that speed. You see great speed in their special teams."
Nutt said Texas now mirrors Arkansas in some of its shotgun formation plays with quarterback Vincent Young.
"We watched the films of them last year and they put in those plays we have for Matt in the next week or so and added to it as the year progressed," Nutt said. "They run it well. It's scary to look at them now."
Defensively, Nutt said linebacker Derrick Johnson is formidable.
"He is very fast and reminds you of Caleb Miller," Nutt said. "He's fast like Caleb, maybe a step faster. He gets to the ball and runs sideline to sideline. He forced a lot of fumbles last year when he got to the ball. He's a very talented player. I don't think anyone blocks Derrick Johnson."
The Hogs were late getting on the film after some extra film study and did not finish their practice until around 6:30 p.m. That was about 30 minutes later than the normal workout last week when the Hogs were preparing for New Mexico State.
It was easy to see the intensity of the workout, although the Hogs continue to work in a quiet way, except for the coaching staff. Secondary coach Bobby Allen, linebacker coach Chris Vaughn, offensive line coach Mike Markuson and wide receiver coach James Shibest all were extremely animated and vocal during the workout. Some of those were losing their voice by the end of the workout, a sign they had raised their voice a few levels.
Quarterback Matt Jones was moving fast and quick Tuesday. He showed his intensity in conditioning drills when he encouraged teammates and pumped both fist in the air as he completed each gasser. Rarely does Jones show emotion, but it was clear he was into it Tuesday, too. His passing was sharp throughout the workout.
Freshman cornerback Matterral "Red" Richardson, product of Marlin, Texas in the central part of the Lone Star state, said it was clear this is a special week for many of the Razorbacks.
"You know, there are a bunch of us guys from Texas that know who we are playing this week and are excited," Richardson said. "Texas didn't recruit us. They passed over us for the so-called bluechip recruits. We have something to prove this week. We think we are pretty good and want everyone to know they missed something.
"Texas is very good. You know they have a very good team, but we have a good team, too. We'll be ready to play this week. We've been telling some of the guys on our team from other states about Texas. Michael Grant is in the same suite with me, D'Nerian Wrighter and Dallas Washington. We've been giving him information on Texas this week. This is a big game for us."
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