Usually, Monday is an off day for Arkansas' football team. It's the day the players schedule their labs. No matter, Arkansas went to the practice field for a night workout on Monday because of the short work week with a huge game looming Friday with LSU. The workout began at 5:15 p.m. and went until 6:45 p.m.
"This was like a Tuesday," Houston Nutt said. "We got a good start to the week. Our guys were moving around very fast."
The Hogs were in full pads, except for quarterback Matt Jones. The Arkansas signal caller was in sweats and shoulder pads. He did not wear his usual cleats, instead donning tennis shoes, perhaps trying to protect his sore right hamstring on a cool night with light rain falling in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
"Matt did the pass skeleton and the individual work," Nutt said. "He did a good job of thorwing the ball. We just have to keep him coming."
Jones, who weighed 244 after practice Monday, said he felt good.
"I'm okay, really I am," he said. "I'm good to go this week."
There was little contact in the workout except for a one-on-one drill between the offensive defensive line late in the practice.
"We needed to be in full pads to do a few things that we needed because of who we play this week," Nutt said.
That was in reference to the physical nature of the LSU squad. Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker said everything about the Tigers is physical.
"They have a physical offensive line, physical tight ends, physical backs, physical quarterbacks and I even think their kickers are physicals," Rocker said. "That's the way we like it. That's the way we play the game. I wouldn't have it any other way.
"This is why you play in the SEC, to play games like this. This is the closest some of our guys will come to the NFL. This will be an extremely physical game. That's my nature and we don't want to dodge it. This will be no different than any other week. We want to bring it. If you are dodging contact, you better get out of there this week because it's going to be there."
Nutt said LSU's defensive front may be the best his team sees all year. He mentioned several LSU stars up front, with special emphasis on end Marcus Spears.
"He's as good as you'll see," Nutt said. "He's one of the best in the country, very, very good."
Rocker said his defensive linemen know about LSU's front four on defense, but they won't be trying to match their play.
"We aren't going to play them," Rocker said. "We'll play their offensive line. It's a very good group. But I will say our guys have respect for Spears and their guys. We know about them and respect the way they play. They play phsyical, fast and hard. If you are a defensive player, you know that and you respect their ability and the way they play the game."
Arkansas end Jeb Huckeba saw all of the tape of LSU's game against Ole Miss. He saw the Tigers play offense and defense. He came away impressed.
"I saw what Spears can do," Huckeba said. "He's 6-5, 300 and it looks like he runs a 4.5. He's impressive. He has no fat.
"But every player they have is impressive like Spears. It looks like they have NFL talent at every position. It's a great challenge and what we look forward to. LSU has the best at every position. We know that. They looked like a well-oiled machine against LSU. They were blocking huge holes and they had great backs flying through them. They were big backs with speed.
"Yes, it's a great challenge, but I like our chances. That's why it's going to be special. They have the best-looking players we'll see, but I like our heart and the fact we are playing in Little Rock. This may be my last game as a Razorback and we will be giving it everything we have. We'll have a great effort and I like our chances."
Nutt said he gave his players a talk on Sunday and another one on Monday in the wake of the fights over the weekend that erupted in an NBA game and again Saturday in the South Carolina-Clemson football game.
"We've all seen those highlights on TV," Nutt said. "College football is a wonderful game and there is no sense in what happened with players taking their helmets off and start chasing each other. It's a physical game and you can get all the hitting you want the right way.
"It's a shame those two teams are not going to a bowl. But there is no room for what happened in college football. It's a bad example. You've got to do better than that. We talked about all of that, including the NBA fight. That was awful."
Monday Grid Report, 11/22
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