Arkansas worked in shorts and light shoulder pads for about 70 minutes tonight to begin preparations for Ole Miss. They finished the workout under portable lights installed on the street west of the practice field. The team did a heavy set of conditioning to begin the task of ridding the soreness from their legs and bodies.
Quarterback coach Roy Wittke said that the play at the end of the game which ended with Matt Jones' second interception was a triple post, with De'Arrius Howard underneath. It was a pass that was covered deep, but open short.
"Should have been thrown away, or should have been a scramble," Wittke said. "That was a poor decision and the other interception was, too.
"That being said, Matt did some good things, too. He was 9 of 11 on the drives that got us points and he had 68 yards scrambling on those drives. And, he made some very good checks and decision in the run game. The other possessions, he was 3 of 13 passing, so he wasn't very good on those. That tells you we depend on Matt a lot."
No reporters visited with Jones after practice Sunday night, partly because he was busy. He spent about 10 minutes with two young boys. He gave them a football with his autograph after his mother had emailed HoustonNutt.com with a request for Matt to meet them. She said both idolized Jones and wanted to meet him. Wittke set it up for Sunday night. Jones took a knee and visited with the two boys at the end of practice, almost in the dark as teammates strolled past him. He was the last player to leave the field because of his visit with the youngsters.
Wittke also said he was surprised that anyone had a hard time finding Jones after the game in the locker room. He said he was visiting with the quarterbacks when the locker room was opened to the media. He said about five reporters came into the locker room and began talking to players. He said Jones went to his locker and waited about 10 minutes thinking reporters would want to talk to him, too.
"Matt sat there and no one came to him," Wittke said. "I was in there for awhile and saw that. So he left, thinking no one wanted him. He was surprised that no one wanted to interview him because he knew he had been a part of some plays that didn't go so well."
Part of the reason writers missed Jones is that the small group of reporters which cover the Hogs on the road all went to a special interview room in another part of the stadium where Houston Nutt was waiting. That took about 10-12 minutes before reporters were finished with the UA head coach. Apparently, when reporters then went to the UA locker room, Jones was gone, although there were several reporters in the locker room as soon as Nutt left.
"I don't think Matt has declined any interviews after a single game this year," Wittke said. "He didn't decline any yesterday in Columbia. No one asked him one single question. I guess when reporters did come in and went around the room, he thought no one wanted him and left after a bit. He told me even on the bus that he was surprised that there weren't many reporters and no one talked to him."
Mike Markuson said he was proud of the fight in his offensive line, especially right tackle Robert Felton and right guard Gene Perry. Both scored high in his grading system, although both made some mistakes, too.
"Felton did well," Markuson said. "He can do better than that and we've got to teach him a few things that he didn't quite get down. Right tackle is a little different, but he did pretty well for his first game. He was physical and got after it. So did Gene. That was probably Gene's best game. He got after people pretty good. He stayed low and fought very hard."
Dave Wommack, defensive coordinator, said his unit did some good things and some not so good things in the game. He said tackling at the start and end of the game was poor, but better at other points.
On the game winning drive, Wommack said, "We had a couple of (blitz) calls on, but we didn't get there. We got close on one of them. It was just a case of very poor tackling on that drive."
Zac Tubbs, lost for the season with leg surgery, was at Sunday's practice for the first time since breaking his leg following the Florida loss.
Tubbs said he had seven screws placed in his foot where the leg was broken and ligaments were torn.
"When they went in, the leg bone had spiraled and it was six inches shorter than it should have been," Tubbs said. "They got it fixed, though. It's going to be fine. I may be able to do some things this spring and I plan to be out there, but probably no contact. They tell me the ligaments are back in place and the leg is going to be fine. There's been a lot of pain, but it's about gone now. They let me go home for two weeks and that was good to let my mom take care of me for a while."
Markuson said he does not worry about Tubbs putting on extra weight during his rehab.
"He's been working hard to get that off and he's really taken to the diet," Markuson said. "I think he understands how hard it was to get his weight right. I don't think that will be a problem anymore from what I can tell."
Sunday Grid Report, 11/7
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