Hog Grid Update, 11/16

Arkansas worked under the lights Tuesday after taking a day off on Monday. The Hogs travel to Mississippi State on Saturday. Houston Nutt expects his team to shake off a few injuries.

Arkansas worked for about 90 minutes in shoulder pads and shorts, working on Mississippi State formations and alignments. The Hogs appear healthy for the trip to Starkville.

Quarterback Matt Jones sat out the final periods of practices, turning most of the team work over to Robert Johnson. Jones is expected to be full speed, according to head coach Houston Nutt.

"Matt took a lot of the work early and he did some things in (the) team (periods)," Nutt said.

Asked if he sat out at the end to rest a tired right hamstring, or to give Robert Johnson extra repetitions.

"A little of both," Nutt said. "But Matt will be full go on Saturday. He's fine."

Jones looked quick and sharp early in the workout when he handled everything at quarterback. He took extra turns in pass skeleton, trying to stay sharp in the passing game.

The Hogs meet the Bulldogs at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Starkville. There is no television coverage. Nutt said his team is healthy. De'Arrius Howard, who sustained a mild concussion last week against Ole Miss, practiced without any problems and has been cleared to play against MSU.

"De'Arrius is fine," Nutt said. "We are in good shape."

Tight end Jared Hicks, who caught two TD passes against Ole Miss, continued to practice in a no-contact green jersey because of continued shoulder problems. He sat out the team work, but did most of the drills against the scout team.

"In the team portions, we worked against our defense to get the speed of the game," Nutt said. "It was good on good, but without contact."

The Hogs began the workout on the practice field with some light rain falling, but the precipitation stopped soon after the team stretched. They moved inside of the stadium for the team portions since the Hogs won't play there the rest of the season.

The Hogs usually work in full pads on Tuesdays and have some contact, but skipped that with the season coming to an end. The Hogs have only two games left. After MSU, the team plays host to LSU on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Nutt said MSU represented a tough challenge, especially with the enthusiasm Sylvester Croom's team has displayed of late.

"You can't look at their games early because they aren't the same team the last four or five weeks," Nutt said. "They have picked things up and are flying around. They have a very good running game and that's the challenge this week. They have two very good backs. Jarious Norwood is approaching 1,000 yards and is very dangerous."

Strong safety Vickiel Vaughn said the MSU ground game is tough because of the ability to cut back against the grain by an elusive set of runners.

"They see the field and they can hurt you if you over pursue," Vaughn said. "We will have to play a team game and help each other. You have to hold your lanes and position. You think they are going one way, and they are going to cut it back and bring it back the other way with speed and quickness. They have very talented backs. We've seen what they can do on film and it's impressive in the running game."


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