The University of Arkansas football team finally got a chance to put on full pads Friday and wasted little time in putting them to use.
That started with a middle drill early on in the afternoon workout and finished with some scrimmage plays in which Razorbacks old and new alike got with it.
"I think (linebackers) Sam Olajubutu and Pierre Brown were getting with it, (safety) Vickiel Vaughn is more physical this year, defensive linemen like Anthony Brown and Desmond Sims and Marcus Harrison and a younger guy like Cord Gray made some plays," UA head coach Houston Nutt said. "You like to seethe pads popping."
Freshmen linebackers Tyrell Graham and Fred Fairchild as well as running backs Peyton Hillis and Felix Jones also proved to be physical with big hits during a middle drill at the first of practice.
By the end of the practice - which was moved back to 3:30 after two days of starting at 5:30 - the Razorbacks were having to battle.
"We had a good day until right at the end," Nutt said. "We have got to get a little bit more mentally tougher. We emphasize mental toughness. It's a tough man's game. It's been hot, we all know that, we all understand that, we've got bumps and bruises but this is where you fight through some things.
"There have been some guys who have really fought through and some that haven't," Nutt said. "We want to get better, but the only way you can do that is to stay on the field and get mentally strong."
Vaughn took one of two interceptions the defense came up to back the other way for a score.
"The defense got some turnovers today and did a good job with those turnovers," Nutt said. "They got two interceptions and a fumble recovery."
What really irritated Nutt was that the offense was working in a late game situation trying to get a first down to run out the clock.
"We worked on the gobble situation," Nutt said. "Gobble basically means we are trying to gobble up the clock and make two first downs and the defense must take it away. The defense won that today. We can't have that as an offense. We can't have turnovers."
He did not want to talk about which of the quarterbacks had made the miscues or what the pecking order was as of now.
"Let's wait until the end of the week to talk about that," Nutt said.
The Razorbacks will return to the field Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in shoulder pads and shorts and then return at 2 p.m. in full pads as they finally get to have two-a-days.
"We'll have emphasis on kicking in the morning and then come back with full pads on in the afternoon and have an all-out practice," Nutt said. "We'll see how that goes and maybe at the end we will have a goal line play scrimmage."
Nutt also noted that there was still no word on freshman Michael Bibbs from the Clearing House yet, that both practices would be closed on Saturday and confirmed that the Fan Day scrimmage on August 20 would indeed be open.
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