Wide receiver Rod Coleman's redshirt may be lifted now that it appears Chris Baker is out for up to three more games. Houston Nutt said that he's leaning heavily on playing the true freshman from Camden this year.
Coleman, 6-2 and fast, would give the Hogs a deep presence they have lacked in their first four games, Nutt said after practice Thursday.
The Hogs worked for a little more than one hour in a session that was mainly in team work since most of the assistant coaches were on the recruiting trails. Nutt, Reggie Herring, Danny Nutt and the graduate assistants conducted the workout.
The media was also told that running back Peyton Hillis was now off limites to interview requests after he told a Fayetteville television reporter earlier in the week that he was interested in a move to linebacker this season. Nutt said that such a move would be discussed after the season.
"Right now, Peyton can help us most right where he's at, playing fullback, tailback, H-back, wide receiver and returning punts," Nutt said. "He's got a big role right now. He got 50 snaps last week (against Alabama). He's got a lot to do now. He can help the team win with what's he got now."
Nutt said such talk of a move is "probably" linked to the Hogs' 1-3 start. Asked if he Hillis had asked the head coach about a possible move, Nutt said, "No." Asked if Hillis might have gone to defensive coordinator Reggie Herring to ask about a move, Nutt said, "Evidently."
Nutt said the Thursday practice finished with work on the two-minute drill. There was also a heavy period where the passing game was the focus.
"We covered third-and-8, third-and-7 and third-and-6 real heavy," Nutt said, noting the focus was on decision making for quarterback Robert Johnson.
"And, we looked hard today at Rod Coleman. It looks like we might not have Chris Baker back for quite a few games. I hate to take the redshirt off Coleman, but he can run and we need that right now. He's one guy who it looks like can help us because of his speed."
Asked if the decision has now been made to play Coleman, Nutt continued, "We are pretty close -- if he keeps doing what he's been doing. He's been going against our defense since day one and he runs great routes and he has great speed. We need a speed receiver. I hate it, but we are trying to get the best we've got out there."
Nutt said that pro scouts watching Arkansas' practices this week commented about the "high energy" at the workouts.
"We've had really good practices this week and we've talked with pro scouts this week who were here and they commented on that," Nutt said. "I do know that our guys played hard at Alabama.
"We worked hard this week on decision making with our quarterbacks. We worked with a live rush. We tried to put them under game situations.
"We've played with high intensity this year. And, there are three or four plays in two of the games that if they were different, we'd have won three times."
Thursday Grid Update, 9/29
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