Tuesday Grid Update, 11/1

Arkansas had to move the final stages inside Walker Pavilion because of darkness, but that didn't seem to slow new starting quarterback Casey Dick.

On the first day of the 11th month, No. 11 continued as Arkansas' starting quarterback. Casey Dick will be the first true freshman in Razorback history to start the first game he played at quarterback. Tuesday was his second practice as the starter after a brief workout Sunday afternoon. The team was off on Monday.

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Dick had a good workout Tuesday and confirmed that he finished the practice just like he started it, as the team's starting QB.

"He's still the starter," Nutt said. "He had a good day. We put a couple of new things on him today and he didn't always pick it up. He had to figure it out on the run, but he'll be better for it. He'll also be sore since he got about 90 percent of the work today. That's a heavy load."

Dick was not available for interviews, but it was clear that both Nutt and quarterback coach Roy Wittke liked his performance Tuesday.

"So far, Casey has done a good job," Wittke said. "He's level headed and has a quiet confidence about him. He has a sureness about him that the team picks up upon. He doesn't show a lot of emotion. His high school offense put a lot on him and that will help him. He also played in a high level of football in Texas and that will help him.

"He really caught our eye throwing the ball down field over the past few weeks and he made some nice throws down the field today. His teammates gave him a lot of support today. He continued to make some solid throws down the field today. He did a nice job.

"What you see in him is some real good poise. That's one of his strengths."

Wittke said Dick's arm strength is impressive, too.

"He's got a good high release and he has a deceptively strong arm," Wittke said. "He played in a shotgun offense, a true spread in high school. We saw him make a lot of good throws on film in high school, but I have to say he was a pleasant surprise as far as arm strength when he got here. His arm got better from high school to this point and he has probably the best arm, maybe the strongest arm we have out here."

One of the things that Wittke said has helped Dick over Cole Barthel and Alex Mortensen, the second and third team QBs over the past two months, is the amount of work he's gotten with the scout team.

"That's one thing that is tough in this situation is that he's probably been making more throws, getting more reps than the backup. When you are the backup, you might not be getting more than 30 percent of the work. Casey got more than that. He also got a lot in pass skeleton. We got to see a lot of him. He's impressed every time, too. You hear things from the (defensive coaches), but we saw what he could do throwing down the field in pass skeleton and individual work."

Nutt said the team had a good day along with Dick.

"We had a good work day," Nutt said. "We came to work today with our hard hat on. They gave it to us today. We have got to have another day just like this one Wednesday.

"We are playing a team that is confident and playing at a high level right now. We saw the Tennessee film. The way we practiced today is how we have to practice to get ready for this team.

"We will need a full team effort -- offense, defense, special teams and every area of our kicking teams. WE will have to do well in all areas. We'll have to play as a team."

Asked to name a backup to Dick, Nutt said probably it would be Robert Johnson, although he added "that's a situational thing. But yes, right now probably Robert."

Nutt said he knows South Carolina defensive coaches will prepare some new blitzes for his new quarterback.

"I know them," he said. "They'll come after him. But they better be in every gap because if they aren't, those tailbacks can hit the hole very quickly and they'll be gone. I do think they will play it by down and distance and blitz accordingly."

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