Arkansas closed the doors for all but the first 20 minutes of Tuesday's workouts in hopes of finding a major focus before taking to the road for the first time this season.
After goin 3-1 in four home games, the Hogs will travel to Gainesville to face Florida this weekend. Game time is at 11 a.m. central time.
"We had a good day," Houston Nutt said of the UA practice. "The guys are taking in the new game plan and trying to learn it. The emphasis, like last year before we went to Texas for our first road game, is to focus and really concentrate. You have to concentrate twice as hard when you are on the road.
"We know the noise level will be high. We have to concentrate hard on our communication and on the snap count. We'll be practicing with some high noise levels in the stadium as our week goes a long. Today we were really focusing on learning (Florida's) alignments, plays and schemes."
The media was allowed to watch the first 20 minutes of the full pads workout, enough to see Chris Balseiro, the kicker, paired with a defensive back in a one-on-one hitting session. Balseiro held his own in that matchup.
The practice seemed to be spirited from that point forward. Balseiro opened the workout by nailing three of four field goals form 40 yards and out. The Hogs then worked first offense against first defense in the second period of the day before breaking into fundamental sessions for each position.
The day ended with a heavy conditioning session inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Presumably, the Hogs went inside the stadium to keep anyone from watching through the fences around the practice field.
Nutt said the injury report was good. All hands were available, including running backs De'Arrius Howard (shoulder) and DeCori Birmingham (hip). Defensive backs Vickiel Vaughn (ankle), Michael Coe (ankle) and Chris Houston (ankle) all were able to complete the practice without problems.
"I wouldn't say those guys are 100 percent yet, but they are closer and they got through it all today," Nutt said. "That's very good."
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack praised the play of husky back Kevin Woods for his performance against Alabama. He said his playing time will increase.
"Kevin was in on 24 snaps and was perfect on 23 of them," Wommack said. "That's as close to 100 percent as we've had from that side of the ball in a long time. He didn't miss a single tackle. He's the best tackler we've got over there.
"John Jackson is still the starter, but we've got some defenses in our nickel and dime where they are both going to be out there together. He's not but about 190, but he's a solid, solid tackler. Kevin really showed up well against Alabama. His time will go up. Kevin is a safety type who can give us a real burst and is very quick and plays hard. He's very physical. When we moved him from safety, it was to be involved in the run defense because of that nature. He will hit."
Wommack said that Sam Olajubutu would get his second start at middle linebacker, but that both Olajubutu and Clarke Moore would see significant time against the Gators.
"They are going to spread you out and throw it some and they have the best combination of wide receivers and quarterback that we've seen," Wommack said. "But their purpose in doing that is to hand the ball off to their big back and run it where they have you out numbered. We've got to tackle better than we've tackled in the past few games. Last week, Alabama had 112 yards after contact. That's one/third of their offense. What we did good is have no penalties and gave up only one touchdown. But we can play better.
"Florida is the most balanced team that we've seen and they are very good with their screens. They get in that no huddle offense and are tough. "
Woods, redshirt freshman from Memphis, said he knows he'll get playing time against the Gators and is excited. However, the challenge is big.
"They have a big back in Ciatrick Fason," Woods said. "He's bigger than me, that's easy to tell. I just have to use the technique coached in us by our coaches. It's all about heart as far as I can tell. Yes, it's going to big to go (to the Swamp), but we have no fear. We just have to execute our defense and play our techniques."
Tuesday Grid Report, 9/28
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