Thursday Grid Report, 9/30

Arkansas works on its non-verbal communication as Saturday's trip to The Swamp and battle with Florida draws near.

If University of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt, starting quarterback Matt Jones and Dowell Loggains - the holder and young man who signals in plays or decoys - look as if their hands on fire Saturday, there's really no need for fans to panic.

It will only be because the Razorbacks (3-1, 1-0) are like many other teams who get into non-verbal communication when they visit The Swamp to play No. 16 Florida (2-1, 1-1) as they will at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning.

"We had a good week," Nutt said after Thursday's short closed workout. "Our guys had great concentration level and that is what it is going to have to take. When you take a team on the road, the communication skills have got to be superb. We are going to one of the greatest environments there is. It takes 70 guys all with great communication - offensively and defensively.

"...We have got to use signals, but it is nothing that we don't already do during the course of the game," Nutt continued. "A lot of times you take for granted that I am going to be able to tell you something and you are not going to be able to communicate through your vocal cords. We've just got to make sure we are going to be on the same page. It should be no problem."

One thing that should be a plus for Arkansas is that the ballgame will be televised nationally by CBS so there will be more and longer stoppages of play for commercials.

"What's good is when it is a TV game because you get more timeouts," Nutt said. "That helps a lot."

On the injury front, tailback DeCori Birmingham's injured back is better and it appears everyone should be able to play with the exception of secondary man Chris Houston, who missed last week's 27-10 win over Alabama and is doubtful again this week because of a high ankle sprain.

" It looked pretty good there today and everybody for the most part - with the exception of Chris Houston- look ready to play," Nutt said. "Those high ankle sprains are unbelievable in how long that they take to get back."

Florida will present the most balanced offensive the Razorback defense has faced this season according to UA defensive coordinator Dave Wommack.

"They are at about 265 rushing and 185 passing," Wommack said. "They have the good back in (Ciatrick) Fason and you have to be able to stop him. He's a central focus, but they have nice receivers and a quarterback that is real comfortable back there."

Wommack said Arkansas' defense is not necessarily changing up much on defense, but does hope to execute better.

"The main thing is we have just got to get better," Wommack said. "We are not in a situation where we can make a lot of changes, go to all those money packages like the nickel or dime like we did last year, until we can execute what we are doing now. Then when we get the confidence in that we can move on."

Wommack did say he is feeling better about his depth and will use cornerback Michael Grant and fellow true freshman safety Dallas Washington in the Florida game more than the previous four.

"You want see a change up front because we will be playing the same people there and at linebacker, but you are going to see a few more people in the secondary," Wommack said. "It may be a little bit scary and exciting at the same time, but that's why you come to play in the SEC is challenges like this. If we didn't have confidence in them, we wouldn't send them out there. We're looking forward to getting there and playing."


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