Thursday Grid Report, 10/21

Arkansas held a closed practice again Thursday as the Hogs moved closer to its SEC matchup with Georgia. Game time is 6 p.m. Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Arkansas continued to work behind closed doors as it put the finishing touches on preparations for Saturday's game with Georgia.

It became clear that quarterback Matt Jones would play. the senior signal caller moved around fairly well in the portions of the workout that were open to the media. He jumped in a playful manner, faking a basketball-like dunk of the football over backfield coach Danny Nutt.

"He's shown a little improvement," head coach Houston Nutt said of Jones. "He always looks to me like he doesn't run real fast in practice -- until the lights come on. I hopes he is real fast when the lights come on Saturday.

"Matt hasn't seen the speed of the game this week in practice and that worries you. The good news is that Robert Johnson has and has looked very good."

Nutt said he isn't sure about the status of fullback Peyton Hillis despite clearance from doctors to allow him to play.

"I'm going to talk to Peyton's mother and father and then make a decision," Nutt said. "We are going to be careful with him."

Tony Ugoh was at practice after missing most of the week's work because of troubles passing a kidney stone. He split time with Robert Felton at left tackle. They will draw the assignment of slowing down Georgia star defensive lineman David Pollack. It wasn't clear whether Ugoh or Felton will start.

It appears Michael Coe, starting corner, is out of the game with a thigh muscle strain. He did not practice. Wide receiver Steven Harris did not practice after going to get an MRI for what turned out to be a strained medial collateral knee ligament. He said he expects to play against Georgia.

Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said he liked what he saw from his defense this week in practice. Asked if something different will be tried in the pre-game after his unit gave up 65 points in the first half of their last two games, Wommack said he trusts Nutt to "get them up" before the game.

"Houston Nutt is the best I've seen in my 26 years of coaching at getting a team ready for the start," Wommack said. "I don't worry about that. We just have to keep improving. I'll tell you, in watching the film of last week, there was improvement in that first half, but we were just inches away on some of those plays. Yes, we missed some tackles, but the technique and the coverage was better than it has been.

"We just have to keep them coming. We are going to be a good team at some point. I believe that and see what they are doing to learn their technique and play with effort. We have to keep coming and we'll be there soon."

"I get frustrated like everyone else, but I see the improvement. We need something good to happen. The last two games, we've had something bad happen and it's made it tough. We need to turn that around early in the game."

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