Nutt Reveals Lineup Change

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt promised his squad will work to eliminate turnovers this week as the Hogs prepare for Vanderbilt and the SEC opener.

Clarke Moore moved ahead of Weston Dacus at middle linebacker in the starting lineup after coaches graded the film from Arkansas' 49-17 victory over Missouri State.

Moore, fifth-year senior, graded out the best at middle linebacker. Moore, Pierre Brown and Sam Olajubutu each had only one missed assignment and all three graded high for the defense.

"Clarke Moore started out as the fourth team defensive end and was in the doghouse when we started fall camp," said Houston Nutt. "He didn't complain or say a word. He just kept working and I'm very proud of him.

"The older linebackers all graded out high. They played well."

Nutt also praised defensive ends Anthony Brown and Desmond Sims for solid games on defense....

"Our defense gave up the big play, but we tackled better," Nutt said. "We also got the five turnovers. We should be leading the country in turnover margin right now. The one to start the game that hit Freddie Fairchild was a fluke. I'm not upset at that one. But the others ...

"We will work very hard starting today on eliminating those turnovers. I looked at the film and I kept seeing the ball away from the chest. I saw it being carried loosely. We've worked a lot on that, but it will be a major emphasis starting today.

"There was no regard for the ball. We will get that corrected. That game last night should have been put away early and a lot more people would have played.

"We will have scout teamers stripping it and hitting at the ball when they are least expecting it starting today. The thing is you should always expect it.

"There was one where a helmet hit the ball right as soon as Peyton (Hillis) got it, but the others we have to do a better job on."

That includes punt returner Michael Coe.

"That ball was away from his chest," Nutt said. "Michael has to get it tucked away."...

On the injury front, Nutt said it is unlikely tight end Jared Hicks would be available for this week. He said he was hopeful that offensive guard Zac Tubbs returns this week.

"I hope we can have Tubbs out there by Tuesday," Nutt said.

The Hogs escaped serious injuries against Missouri State. Tight end Lance Thompson took a helmet to the knee and is out with a strain. Jeremy Harrell suffered a thigh strain. Thompson is probably out for this week.

Chris Baker sat out the game with a sore knee and he is still day-to-day with that injury. Tyrell Graham and Dallas Washington both missed after a stomach virus caused dehydration late in the week.

The Hogs planned a closed (with no media access afterwards for players or coaches) practice for Sunday afternoon, but would continue their policy of no workout on Monday despite the school holiday for Labor Day.

"We have tried to practice on Labor Day before, but we are going to continue to use it for coach study like we've done lately," Nutt said. "Some schools try to practice twice on Labor Day, but we will have plenty of time to get what we need done this week."...

Nutt was pleased with the play of first-time starter Robert Johnson at quarterback. He said the way Johnson handled adversity was good and he also took the blame for Johnson's only interception.

"I'd been saying all week that the post was open," Nutt said. "I had been telling him that and I probably got too greedy and called it too early. I told Robert when he came over that that one was my fault. I just told him to keep playing and not to force anything that we'd be alright. He did just that."...

Nutt said he was surprised by the defensive alignment and tendencies of Missouri State given the ability the Hogs have in the running game.

"They backed off of us and played the pass," Nutt said. "That did surprise me somewhat. They also played off of us with their ends. They looked like they were set for our option plays and our bootlegs. They stopped the boots, if you notice. They were ready for that. But they didn't blitz and they dropped back into coverage.

"We expect teams to overload and blitz against us. We only ran one option. We've still got that and I won't say you won't see us run it some."...

Jonathan Luigs got rave reviews in his first start. He stepped in for the injured Zac Tubbs at right guard, then moved to center when the second team offensive line played.

"Our entire offensive line was outstanding," Nutt said. "But Luigs really played a ball game. He's so quick and he can really run and get out on people. He will play against better people than he did last night, but his guy was blocked all night and he had quite a few knockdowns."

Luigs had 68 snaps and graded 86 percent. He had six knockdowns and two machette blocks. A machette is when an offensive linemen sprints down field and throws a cut block.

"That's where you get out and take someone's legs out from under them," Nutt said. "Luigs was very good last night."

Center Kyle Roper graded 90 percent on his 67 snaps with four knockdowns, one machette. Stephen Parker graded at 81 percent with three knockdowns and 2 machettes. Tony Ugoh was at 87 percent with eight knockdowns and 1 machette. Robert Felton graded at 69 percent grade with two knockdowns and two missed assignments.

"Robert (Felton) had the tougher side last night, but we expect more from him," Nutt said. "He's athletic and he can do better."

The Hogs also played Jose Valdez (88 percent), Nate Garner (80 percent), Tyler Morgan (73 percent) and Chase Pressley (86 percent). Nutt praised Pressley for his performance....

Nutt said it was his idea to add "ARKANSAS" acros the front of the jerseys.

"I got that from watching Jermaine Taylor fight in Las Vegas," Nutt said. "He had Arkansas on his pants and I thought that was great. Our road whites will have that, too. Our jerseys are simple ... two colors, red and white, and that's it. I like them."...

Nutt indicated that he wasn't unhappy with the effectivenes of his field goal kicker when he went for a few fourth downs in the opener, but he did mention that holder Jacob Skinner and placekicker Chris Balseiro have to be quicker at getting the team set. The Hogs lost a successful field goal because of a delay of game penalty.

"Neither one of them was aware of the 25-second clock on that one," Nutt said.

On the fourth down calls, Nutt said, "I thought about kicking (a field goal), but I just wanted to put(quarterback) Robert (Johnson) into that situation, see how he would react on fourth down. On one of the fourth downs, he threw a beautiful ball to Cedric Washington."...


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