Arkansas worked for over two hours in a fully padded, physical practice Tuesday afternoon. Head coach Houston Nutt said he was pleased with the effort and announced the team did not have any fumbles on the day.
"We didn't have any balls on the ground today," Nutt said.
The Hogs lost four fumbles in the season opener, a 49-17 victory over Missouri State.
"We had a physical day," Nutt said. "Tuesday is a heavy work day. We didn't have any (middle drills), but we hit a lot. We just didn't tackle to the ground. We finished with 12 plays with the ones going against the ones. We had a good day."
Nutt said it did not appear that offensive guard Zac Tubbs could play this week against Vanderbilt. Tubbs was unable to practice on Tuesday. The Hogs got a little work from reserve tight end Wes Murphy. Nutt said he wanted to see what Murphy would be like as far as his injury on Wednesday.
"We worked Mason Templeton, Marcus Winston and Mitch Petrus at tight end today," Nutt said. "We may have Wes back, but we don't know for sure."
The Hogs will not have fifth-year senior Jared Hicks for Vandy. Both Hicks and Tubbs are battling high ankle sprains. Backup tight end Lance Thompson is out with a knee sprain sustained Saturday night.
Split end Chris Baker, bothered by a sore knee, was able to practice on a limited basis on Tuesday.
"Chris was better today," Nutt said. "We'll see if he can do a little more on Wednesday."
Tailback Peyton Hillis said the Hogs have concentrated hard on eliminating fumbles.
"We have to get the ball in tight and we have done that Sunday and today," Hillis said. "I looked at film from Saturday and the ball was ahead of me in that game. That can't happen. I can't run with the ball like that. We had people trying to stip it from all angles today. I tried to keep two hands on the ball as much as possible today.
"Those (fumbles) about killed me. I can't believe it. I don't think I ever had two fumbles in one game in my life. I know I can't have any fumbles again."
Nutt said he hopes the UA home crowd becomes the 12th man against Vanderbilt, hopefully disturbing the rhythm of quarterback Jay Cutler, a poised senior.
"We need a hostile environment and we want our fans to be as loud as they can when Cutler comes to the line," Nutt said. "When Jay comes to the line, we want our fans to play every play and to break a sweat. Most are like that anyway, but we need everyone to be like that this week. I'm asking and begging our fans to play the game with us and truly be the 12th man for us."
Nutt said the Hogs expect Vandy to "load the box" and play with more blitzes and movement than they saw in the opener.
"We worked hard against the blitz and movement today," Nutt said. "We worked hard on our passing. We have to throw and catch well. We will still try to mix the formations and we do expect to see eight or nine in the core box. We better be ready to execute.
"There is nothing better than to get one-on-one matchups on the outside with Marcus Monk, Cedric Washington, Cedric Logan, Dedrick Poole and Chris Baker."
Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said the film review of the opener revealed about what he thought.
"We made some mistakes and we talked about them," Herring said. "They were unacceptable. I thought we were better than that. I thought we were further along.
"We continue to emphasize tackling. Our tackling was good except for the long run. But we whiffed in the hole once and twice in the secondary. It was pretty crisp tackling except for that play.
"I'm disappointed with some mental busts on the first two series. We had a confused look on those two drives. We busted assignments and were not crisp. We can correct some of those. Missed assignments can be corrected."
Herring said Clarke Moore worked with the first team on Tuesday ahead of Weston Dacus, the starter in the opener.
"We thought Clarke outperformed Weston in the game," Herring said. "But if we had to go on what happened in practice today, Moore would move back to the second team. Weston got the best of him today.
"It may be a two-headed gig this season. By Friday, it may be Weston back in front. I can't give this bunch any rope because if I do they will strangle themselves. We are just going to let them compete week to week. I suspect those two will be competing all season."
It was obvious where Herring thinks the challenge will come Saturday. Cutler is the "real deal at quarterback. He is a tremendous quarterback who makes plays. He is one of the best I've seen. He's an NFL quarterback, has great velocity and is tough. He also has a great cast around him. He bounces off people. He doesn't get rattled. He has a great, great arm. He knocks people off of him. I watched him and when he doesn't have the ball, he tries to hit someone. It will be a challenge for our front four has to get a pass rush on him and we will also challenge our cover guys to do a great job."
Tuesday Grid Report, 9/6
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