Spring Grid Update: 4/10

Houston Nutt put the Hogs through their final major scrimmage of the spring Wednesday before Saturday's Red-White game. Defense had the upper hand for much of the practice. Images included.

Arkansas worked for 75 minutes on fundamentals, then came together for a 50-play scrimmage with the edge going to the defense this time.

"Our defense played hard and well this afternoon," said head coach Houston Nutt. "Our defensive line ... Arrion Dixon, James Johnson, Jayson Johnson, Raymond House and Elliott Harris ... had an extremely good day. They were ready to play."

The first team defense gave up only one big play, a 72-yard touchdown pass from Tarvaris Jackson to Sparky Hamilton on a short screen pass.

"We only blitzed on first down one time, and they hit us," said Dave Wommack, defensive coordinator. "That was a good play on their part, but I thought we were pretty good the rest of the day."

Indeed, the first team defense gave up only two other first downs, both when Matt Jones was at the helm. Jones led a long TD march with the first offense against the second defense. Jones found Sam Breeden on a 9-yard fade route for the TD. Jones was 3-for-4 passing in that drive to cap a nice day throwing by the sophomore quarterback. There were no other scoring marches aside from some work late in the scrimmage in red zone situations.

Nathan Ball, the ultimate team player, worked for two possessions at center as the Hogs wound up their scrimmage with some work in the red zone.

"It's an experiment," Houston Nutt said. "I think Nathan can handle center. It looked like it today. We are trying to find him a place. He hasn't done poorly at guard, and he can still help our team at tight end or tackle in a pinch. But, we want to see if he might possibly be a player at center."

This should not suggest that any of the other centers have done poorly. Ball is a guy looking for a home and is willing to try anything. He had no busts in any of his snaps. It was the first time he'd tried center in a live scrimmage. He may get another look later in the week, and again in the fall. Nutt also said Ball may get more looks at guard, too.

"I thought it was a good day," Nutt said. "We got a lot of individual work at the start and then got a good look in the scrimmage. We've put the ball down a lot this spring. We meant to go about 30 plays today, but it turned out to be over 50, I think. It was going good, and we just kept at it."

Nutt said that was the last full-scale scrimamge of the spring, aside from what will be a true Red-White game on Saturday.

"We'll divide the team equally with a draft tomorrow," Nutt said. "We will let the seniors pick the teams and it's going to be even because we are pretty thin in some spots. It should be a lot of fun."

The Red-White game will begin at noon on Saturday. Nutt said the game would be four, six-minute quarters.

Tarvaris Jackson had his helmet knocked off today during the scrimmage by a vicious hit. It shouldn't surprise that headhunter Tony Bua blistered Jackson, knocking his helmet flying. Bua did have a heckuva practice today. He had a sack and several other minus yardage tackles. He's a special player. He did hurt a hamstring near the end of the day.

Nathan Ball

Nathan Ball prepares to hike the ball to Ryan Sorahan in Wednesday's scrimmage.

Brandon Holmes

Brandon Holmes drives for yardage. Holmes was at fullback on this play.

Tarvaris Jackson

Tarvaris Jackson drops back to pass in Wednesday's scrimmage.

Tarvaris Jackson

Jackson lets fly with a sideline pass on Wednesday.

Photos by Clay Henry.


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