But he wasn't really happy with what he saw Friday afternoon.
Nutt said the Razorbacks' first practice in pads was marred by a couple of mistakes during a full-contact scrimmage portion of the workout. He declined to reveal which of his three quarterbacks Robert Johnson, Alex Mortensen and Cole Barthel made mistakes, but said the Hogs threw one interception and had trouble with a center-quarterback exchange.
"It doesn't matter (which quarterback) it was," Nutt said. "They were turning it over. We had a center-quarterback exchange. We had an interception.
"We're emphasizing no turnovers. You can't have it two days in a row."
All three quarterbacks are competing for the spot after three-year starter Matt Jones' departure. Johnson, a sophomore, is the only quarterback with experience after making six appearances in 2005.
Nutt has said he intends to name a starter during the first two weeks of practice.
"Any time you turn it over, it affects (the race)," said Nutt, who said he should have a good read on the quarterback race after today's practices. "It affects it because we want them taking care of the ball. That's what we're emphasizing."
Nutt also said he was impressed with the defense.
In particular, he said linebackers Sam Olajubutu and Pierre Brown, safety Vickiel Vaughn and defensive linemen Anthony Brown, Desmond Sims and Marcus Harrison turned in solid practices.
"The defense won today," he said. "They took the ball away from us and we can't have that."
McFadden Joins Injured List
Freshman Darren McFadden joined a lengthy list of running backs held out of practice because of injuries Friday.
Nutt said the highly touted freshman was sidelined after sustaining a slight knee sprain during Thursday's workout. Trainer Dean Weber said McFadden will undergo a precautionary imaging scan on his knee today, but doesn't expect anything serious.
"We'll know more (today)," Weber said. "But we expect this to resolve pretty quickly. It was sore today, but it was better this afternoon."
In addition, senior Brandon Kennedy (ankle), redshirt freshman Korey Sutton (knee) and true freshman Michael Smith (hamstring) didn't participate during the first day in full pads. Weber said an imaging scan on Sutton's right knee revealed a bone bruise that could keep him sidelined for a little while. The injuries to Kennedy and Smith aren't severe and shouldn't keep them sidelined long.
Without them, a few players said true freshman Felix Jones had a solid first day in pads, breaking several big runs. Position coach Danny Nutt said he has been impressed with every aspect of Jones' performance the first week of practice.
"He did real good (Friday)," Nutt said. "After five days of practice, he's still holding up and doing real good for an 18-year-old."
Running back wasn't the only position hit by the injury bug. Arkansas cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen said he was missing three players Chris Houston, Darius Vinnett and Lerinezo Robinson on Friday.
Houston was sidelined for the second straight day because of a groin injury, while Vinnett was held out because of tendinitis in both knees. Allen said Robinson missed some time Friday because of cramps in his hamstrings.
"We don't have anything that's major," Allen said.
Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has been raving about the natural abilities of Brown, who was moved from wide receiver during spring drills.
But Herring said another newcomer has made an impression on him: Safety Desmond Williams.
"Desmond Williams is having a heck of a camp so far," Herring said. "Night and day from the spring. Great attitude, smile on his face, is making great strides every day.
"The biggest concern coming into camp was the depth at safety and linebacker, but the work of Desmond Williams is really encouraging at this stage. He's really doing things and being part of the team and helping us back there."
Williams was moved from safety to linebacker when Herring arrived on campus, but returned to his original position after the spring. He's currently Arkansas' second-team strong safety behind Vaughn.
Arkansas will hold its first two-a-day practices today.
Nutt said the morning session will be in shorts and shoulder pads, while the afternoon practice will be full pads. The Razorbacks will hold a goal line scrimmage at the end of the second workout.
Both practices are closed to the media and public.
"The first day in full pads and I think they felt it," Nutt said. "They were a little slower than they had been, but we'll get better (today)."
Nutt Not Happy With Mistakes
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