UA Grid Report, 11-17

UA head Houston Nutt talks about the national championship race and the resignation of current East Carolina coach and former Razorback assistant John Thompson after his team finishes up practice on Wednesday.

Minutes after finishing up Wednesday's workout, University of Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was asked about the controversy over the three main teams battling for the two spots in the BCS title game.

Nutt said that his No. 1 vote in going to Auburn and he currently has USC second and Oklahoma third and that he had actually got a call from Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville earlier this week.

"I told him congratulations and said if we are ever fortunate to be undefeated one time or at any time, I would expect you to vote for me number one because I am voting for you No. 1," Nutt said. "He said he appreciated it. I think he was making a couple of calls to other coaches, too."

Nutt said that he doesn't see how you couldn't vote Auburn number one right now although one report out of Alabama said only 9 of the 12 SEC coaches were doing so.

"Look at the schedule they've played," Nutt said. "Absolutely they are number one."

Of course getting Tuberville's vote is not something Nutt and his team are concentrating on this season.

But the Razorbacks are focused on getting a win to get to .500 this week and thus positioning themselves where a victory over LSU on Nov. 26 would make the Razorbacks bowl eligible.

But to make that game truly meaningful, Arkansas (4-5, 2-4) must take care of business when it meets Mississippi State (3-6, 2-4) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Starkville in a non-televised game.

"You've got to come out every day and every practice and get better and I feel like that's what these guys are doing as we go down to the end of the season," Nutt said. "We need to take care of this one Saturday and it's going to be tough, but the guys have shown up this week and gotten better each day."

Arkansas worked out in shorts and shoulder pads for the second consecutive day with injured backs Brandon Kennedy and De'Arrius Howard both going through practice throughout after having concussions in last week's 35-3 win over Ole Miss.

"We don't really ever tackle to the ground once we get this far in the year," Nutt said. "You are going on the ninth game of the season and you should know how to do that. We tackled very good last Saturday and hopefully we will do that this Saturday."

Back-up quarterback Robert Johnson got most of the work under center on Wednesday before starter Matt Jones jumped in when the practice moved from the grass practice field into Reynolds Razorback Stadium for the last 30 minutes or so.

"He's getting better, a little bit looser," Nutt said of Jones, who is dealing with a minor hamstring problem.

Arkansas offensive lineman Zac Tubbs, who is out for the year with a leg injury, has been in Washington Regional Medical Center for the past week when a blood clot spread to his lungs.

"He was suppose to get out of the hospital today," Nutt said. "He's doing better. It is really scary anytime you get a blood clot that travels to the lung. Staying in the hospital is the right place until you get that in order."

Nutt also commented on the resignation under fire of current East Carolina head coach John Thompson, a former defensive coordinator under Nutt at Arkansas. That means some other former UA assistants on Thompson's staff will be out of work as well.

Nutt said Thompson had called him about two or three weeks ago.

"You hate see anybody shut down in the middle of the year because it means things are going well," Nutt said. "You hate it for the assistants and their families. It's a tough profession and it seems like it gets a little tougher each year."

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