South Carolina QBs Present Dual Threat

FAYETTEVILLE -- South Carolina quarterback Dondrial Pinkins isn't known for his passing abilities.

But the senior turned in his best outing during the Gamecocks' 43-29 loss to Tennessee last Saturday. Pinkins returned to the lineup after missing three games because of a partially torn rotator cuff and completed 30 of 42 passes for a career-high 306 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Pinkins and sophomore Syvelle Newton, who was slowed by an ankle injury, combined to complete 34 of 49 passes for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns with 3 interceptions against the Volunteers. They've also completed 107 of 177 passes for 1,623 yards and 8 touchdowns with 7 interceptions this season.

"The quarterbacks look pretty good to me," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Monday. "They don't look like they're hobbling around. They look pretty quick and pretty mobile and throwing the ball very well. They put up a lot of yards against a good Tennessee defense."

That type of performance presents another challenge for the Hogs secondary.

Florida's Chris Leak, Auburn's Jason Campbell and Georgia's David Greene put up career passing days against Arkansas the past three games. The trio completed 62 of 86 passes for 1,001 yards and 8 touchdowns without an interception.

There's little doubt Pinkins, Newton and the Gamecocks will test Arkansas using three-, four- and five-receiver sets. Cornerback Darius Vinnett said South Carolina opened the Tennessee game with five receivers and the Hogs will have to do a better job of sticking to their coverages.

Pinkins threw for 2,127 yards as a junior, but completed only 50 percent of his passes. He has improved to 63.9 percent this season with the help of receiver Troy Williamson, who has emerged to lead the Southeastern Conference in receiving yards (729), touchdowns (6) and is tied for fifth in receptions (33).

"He's the fastest thing I've seen on film," said defensive backs coach Bobby Allen. "He's legit. He's a phenomenal athlete. He's a big playmaker. His speed and route running, I don't know if there's another wideout in the league as fast as him."

But defensive end Jeb Huckeba said the Hogs also will be busy keeping track of Pinkins because the senior is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Both quarterbacks are dual threats and have combined for 347 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns.

"You have to prepare for both of them," Huckeba said. "Pinkins probably will start and he had a really good game last game. He was 30 of 42. He can run the ball and that's tough to prepare for. Then Newton also runs about a 4.3, is quick as a cat and makes a ton of plays. They definitely give you a lot to prepare for."

Red Zone Success
Arkansas' offense has had plenty of success in the red zone this season, coming away with points on 24 of 27 trips (88.9 percent). Even more, the Hogs have scored touchdowns 22 times inside the 20 and are second in the SEC in red zone offense.

"With a healthy Matt Jones it gives us a lot of options and the things that we can do," Nutt said. "We've been throwing and catching a lot better this year than last year. With our receivers playing better we're really confident in the red zone and we feel like we're going to score."

But Arkansas failed to produce points in the red zone on their opening drive against Georgia after moving to the Bulldogs 7. Place-kicker Chris Balseiro missed a 24-yard field goal attempt, something Nutt believes might've deflated the Hogs.

"You can't do that too often," Nutt said. "Maybe a little bit. But if you do it too much, I think it does deflate you. We had a beautiful first drive against Georgia. We go all the way and attempt a field goal and miss it. It just deflates you and takes the air out of you."

South Carolina coach Lou Holtz knows the feeling because his team is last in the SEC in red zone offense, scoring on just 23 of 36 trips (63.9 percent). The Gamecocks were 5 of 8 against Tennessee, missing points because of a missed field goal, an interception and the end of the game.

"Our inability to score in the red zone is discouraging," Holtz said.

Casting Call
Huckeba sported a red cast on his broken right hand during Tuesday's practice and said he'll wear it when the Hogs play South Carolina on Saturday. The senior couldn't put his hand down during Tuesday's workout because the new cast was too thick, but believes it'll be trimmed before the game.

Huckeba is coming off the best outing of his career against Georgia, recording 12 tackles, 4 for losses, 3 sacks and a forced fumble. Huckeba is tied for fourth in the SEC in sacks and said he must be able to use his fingers against the Gamecocks.

"I might put my glove on first then put that over it," Huckeba said. "I really don't know how I'm going to do it, honestly. But we'll have something that'll work. It supports it real good and I can still use my fingers."

Injury Updates
Jones got all the work with Arkansas' first-team Saturday after missing last week resting groin and hamstring injuries. Jones said Monday he's expecting to be close to 100 percent for South Carolina.

"He looked real good," Nutt said. "It's good to have him back out here."

Linebacker Sam Olajubutu (knee), receiver Steven Harris (knee), fullback Peyton Hillis (back) and tight end Jared Hicks (shoulder) also practiced Tuesday and are expected to be available Saturday. Hicks wore a green, non-contact jersey.

Center Kyle Roper (back) and cornerback Michael Coe (thigh) missed practice time Tuesday because of injuries. Roper was suffering from back spasms, but should be available Saturday. Cornerback Chris Houston worked in Coe's place and will likely make his first career start against South Carolina.

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