Hogs' QB Does Fine For First Time

FAYETTEVILLE -- If it makes you feel any better, Arkansas had at least practiced the fourth-and-inches quarterback sneak with Casey Dick that went nowhere from the UA 29 on the Hogs' first possession against South Carolina.

"We practiced it yesterday (Friday)," Dick said. "We just couldn't get the yard today."

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt, who for the first time seemed a bit resigned to things after the game, said, "I thought we could get six inches, but we probably shouldn't have gone for it. I know better than that. We were just trying to get some early momentum."

Someone asked why Nutt went with the quarterback sneak.

"Casey is a pretty strong guy," Nutt said. "But their heavy guy just rolled off one of our blocks and stuffed us."

Dick, 6-foot-2 and 200, had some nice moments while playing the entire game. He completed 12-of-24 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, including a UA season-long 47-yarder to Cedric Washington and a couple of misses that made 65,837 fans roar.

"I thought he did a good job for his first time," Nutt said.

Hogs quarterback Roy Wittke huddled briefly with Dick inside the Broyles Center after the game and told him to keep his head up and come back Sunday ready to improve and correct mistakes.

Dick said his Friday night was fairly uneventful.

"I had no trouble sleeping," he said. "I was pretty calm. I went through the playbook one time. I was visualizing myself making these plays."

What he couldn't visualize was the speed of the college game.

"The speed is so much different from high school to college," said Dick, an Allen, Texas, native. "And the size of the players, too."

If he could have one play back, it would be his screen pass attempt for Felix Jones which Gamecocks defensive end Orus Lambert, a 6-2, 247-pound former linebacker, intercepted at the Arkansas 42 late in the third quarter.

"There were two guys blocking (Lambert) and I didn't think there was any way he could jump up to get the ball," Dick said. "He made a great play and I give him all the credit. I shouldn't have thrown it."

The Gamecocks scored what proved to be the winning touchdown on the next play as quarterback Blake Mitchell hit Kenny McKinley for 42 yards to end the third quarter.

After that, South Carolina ratcheted up its defensive pressure.

"Once they started blitzing more, I had to think about getting rid of the ball and adapt to which receivers were going to be open," Dick said. "That's a tough spot for anyone, I think. You've got to handle yourself."

He said once he threw the interception, though, he was able to forget it and move on.

"My teammates supported me," Dick said. "They were by my side after the interception. Cedric Washington made that big gain on the first pass of the fourth quarter. That gives you a lot of confidence."

A sack caused Arkansas to stall on that possession, but the Hogs later moved to a second-and-1 at the South Carolina 18 before bogging down again.

Darren McFadden was hit in the backfield on a fourth-and-2 rush attempt and could only get back to the line of scrimmage as Arkansas gave up the ball on downs.

"On fourth-and-a-yard-and-a-half, it was just a play we stood there and talked about and we agreed on what the best play was," Dick said. "They closed in too quick on it. Darren had to make a guy miss."

Dick said he missed a couple of passes because he failed to follow through correctly, but he refused to blame the swirling wind for any incomplete passes.

"The wind was not that big a factor," Dick said. "No excuses. We did have a bunch of opportunities and we've got to go correct those plays."

Dick said he didn't notice the fans' cheers when he took the field for the first time, but he did take time to enjoy his first touchdown pass (to Peyton Hillis), attempting to high-five with little Reggie Fish afterwards.

"I dropped my mouthpiece and had to go back and pick it up," Dick admitted.

After Saturday, Dick figured, he's been fully initiated.

"Once you get past trying to lead a game-winning drive, you can get past anything," he said.

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