Wednesday Grid Report, 11/24

Arkansas gets in a short workout on Wednesday as it prepares for a game that with a win over LSU on Friday would make the Razorbacks bowl eligible.

So how healthy is University of Arkansas star senior quarterback Matt Jones going to be for Friday's matchup with LSU in Little Rock?

Well, the media, fans of the Razorbacks (5-5, 3-4) and LSU (8-2, 5-2) are all going to find out at the same time - when the CBS nationally televised contest kicks off at 1:30 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.

The normally mobile Jones, nursing a sore hamstring, did no more in practice this week than he did in the week leading up to his team's 24-21 win at Mississippi State last Saturday.

But is that because he is still hurt of because UA head coach Houston Nutt doesn't want the Tigers to know if he is or not?

"We don't know what speed he'll be at, but that last game helped him setting in the pocket and if he needs to he will," Nutt said. "I'm hoping he is going to be a little bit better than he was last time."

But what about a percentage?

"I can't tell," Nutt said with a sly smile. "I don't know. I can't tell."

Jones did a lot of handing off and some passing in Wednesday's polish up practice indoors, one that lasted justover an hour and took a special interest in the special teams.

"We had some good work today and tried to cover a lot of areas in the kicking game," Nutt said. "They have excellent kick coverage teams and all their special teams have great speed. We have got to be at our best in those areas also."

Certainly UA linebacker Pierre Brown's return of a blocked punt for a touchdown was as big a play as any last week in the win.

"It makes a difference," Nutt said. "It turned the game around in Starkville. You never know when an extra point will make a difference, a blocked punt - all those things. We need those plays. It just elevates your team and takes them to another level."

Arkansas will have a walk through practice on Thursday morning before loading up on buses and heading to Little Rock to have Thanksgiving dinner as a family and with their families.

There were a few mistakes in practice on Wednesday that showed some might already be thinking about that meal.

"We are going to try and make it as home-like as possible with nice turkey and dressing and all the things that go with it," not two but maybe one slice of pumpkin pie. It is going to be good. We have invited some families and we know that not all of them can come but the ones that can come we want them to come."

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One player that won't be on hand for the festivities will be freshman defensive back Matterral Richardson, who has gone home to handle a personal matter and will not be with the team.

His status with the team for a possible bowl game - and even his being at the school next year - is uncertain according to Nutt.

On the injury front, injured UA tight end Jared Hicks remains a game-time decision with former tackle Matt Gilbow now sporting the number 89 and working at tight end.

That's where Gilbow played in the Mississippi State game when Hicks went down.

He seemed a bit anxious in practice on Wednesday and would have picked up a couple of procedure penalties.

"That's Matt Gilbow thinking too much at tight end," Nutt said. "We moved him, but he will have it ready to go by Thanksgiving."


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