While now certain he won't have a full deck to play in Alabama this weekend, University of Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt, his staff and his players continue their reclamation project on Wednesday.
That project is to somehow shake off a home loss to Vanderbilt and a blistering 70-17 pounding at No. 1 USC and give the Crimson Tide their best shot.
"The attitude has been great and I love how they have been going about their business," Nutt said. "They have practiced with a sense of purpose, trying to get better each day and guys are really spending more time in the film room and trying to do more little things right. That's what it is about because you either get better or get worse every day."
Obviously after two crushing losses there is only one real positive that can come out of the game at Alabama for this Arkansas team.
"There is nothing like the antidote of winning," Nutt said. "That breeds confidence and energizes you and all of the above. Naturally you want things to happen right - but winning is your goal."
Nutt knows that the Razorbacks won't win simply because they want to do so.
"You another good football team and you have got to play good in all areas - kicking game, defensive, offensively - all the things that we all talk about all the time," Nutt said. "That is what it is all about."
Meeting with reporters after practice, Nutt did not want to focus on just the positives and paint a rosier picture than he should.
"You watch that film and there are things that you can pick out that are very positive," Nutt said. "But it is a 60-minute game and you just can't pick and choose the plays you want to make it count. You have to play every play. Usually there is about 70 plays on each side and you don't know which four or five are going to be the difference so you have to play full speed and be consistent."
The Bama defensive unit is led by defensive coordinator Joe Kines, the former assistant and interim head coach at Arkansas.
"Joe Kines has this team running to the ball and they are playing with a lot of confidence," Nutt said. "They have gotten better each week and again they are playing with so much confidence. They have given up very few big plays, chasing the ball extremely hard, breaking on football and Coach Kines has added a little nickel and dime package that he got from Joe Lee Dunn this summer."
Nutt will most likely have his quarterback at full speed or just about there as sophomore Robert Johnson continues to improve.
"He will absolutely be ready to go," Nutt said.
That can't be said for several others including offensive lineman Jonathon Luigs and Zac Tubbs and defensive back Darius Vinnett, who are all definitely out of the game.
Linebacker Pierre Brown and tight end Jared Hicks - who hasn't played this season - are questionable right now as well.
"Pierre Brown is getting better, but it's hard and he didn't practice again today," Nutt said. "(Tubbs and Luigs) are definitely out...Hicks has shown a little improvement. We'll see how he does tomorrow. He is probably the most frustrated guy out here - well, it's between him and Zac Tubbs.
"Vinnett had a great summer," Nutt added. "He is one of our leaders. He has never, ever had this much pain in his knees with tendonitis. He can't change directions. That's the toughest thing."
Asked about how he will decide who gets how many carries at tailback, Nutt said freshmen Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, sophomore Peyton Hillis and senior De'Arrius Howard are all very good backs.
"That's the toughest that (UA running backs coach) Danny and the offensive staff has because we have very good backs, they all can play and there is a lot of these backs that could start on a lot of different teams, but they have been very unselfish," Nutt said. "We appreciate De'Arrius Howard's attitude, Peyton (Hillis) and Brandon Kennedy. These guys have been in here the longest with us and they are team players.
"You got with the hot hand, the guy that is hitting the hole, hanging onto the football and protecting the most important thing we have," Nutt added. "You have to."
Arkansas will complete on campus preparations for Alabama with a short workout on Thursday afternoon.
Wednesday Grid Report, 9/21
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