Wednesday Grid Update, 11/9

UA head football coach Houston Nutt comes out with a surprising bit of info when it comes to the gameplan for this weekend's game at Ole Miss.

Anybody who was listening Wednesday to Sports Rap, the Chuck Barrett-hosted radio sports call in show, would have heard a quote from Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt that probably stopped them in their tracks.

It was that the Razorbacks (2-6, 0-5) and true freshman quarterback Casey Dick possibly could throw the ball five, six or seven times in a row at Ole Miss (3-5, 1-4) in a 1 p.m. game on Saturday.

Since Arkansas has the number one rushing attack in the conference - by a large amount of yards - this is obviously a surprising statement to make.

"I just think we have gained confidence in Casey and we are not afraid to do that now," Nutt said after Wednesday's workout. "I think that will just help our running game if we keep that growing"

In last week's game 14-10 home loss to South Carolina, there were 42 rushes called and 28 passes although four of those pass calls turned into sacks.

How many called passing plays will there be this week?

"It's just hard to say," Nutt added. "I don't know how much more is, but it is going to be more. You have to to protect. We can all draw up routes, but you have got to be able to protect."

But he also noted that he would not get away too much from a rushing game that has been a force behind true freshmen standouts Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

McFadden has had 63 carries for nearly 400 yards in his last two games - ones separated by a bye week.

"When he is running the way he is running, you feel good about it," Nutt said. "I think Felix is probably going to get a few more (carries) this week, but it is just hard to put a number on it."

Jones had 11 carries for 66 yards last week, but Nutt has called McFadden's number more do the success he has had - so much that he has a chance with an average day for him to pop over 1,000 yards this weekend.

"Right now we have been feeling good about getting him the ball, but we never set out before the game and say he is going it 31 times - we just don't do that," Nutt added. "There is an idea, a general number we are thinking about, but it is just hard to place a specific number on it."

Nutt's very high on McFadden as you might expect.

"The maturity, the toughness - he has just been outstanding," Nutt said. "He's just got to keep going, keep staying humble. The biggest thing I think everybody around here loves about him is how he works Monday through Friday. He has a tremendous work ethic."

Dick's extra passing the and the running game won't happen against a porous defense. In fact, Ole Miss' defense - especially it's all-senior defensive line - has been a strength this season.

"Their defense is extremely talented and almost all seniors," Nutt said. "The one thing we have to do with their defensive line is be very physical.

"It is a lot different than last week (against South Carolina)," Nutt said. "Going in last week we were doing a lot of things to cover as far as the coverage and really concentrating on the passing game.

"...This week with Ole Miss you have got to do a good job with their passing game, but the bottom line is stopping the run."

Two Arkansas starting offensive linemen - center Kyle Roper and guard Stephen Parker - are hampered by injury and how long they can go this weekend is still up in the air.

"You always concerned when a guy like Roper didn't go very much today and Parker is still banged up and they have five seniors on the defensive line that can play," Nutt said. They are very physical, playing with a lot of enthusiasm and getting off blocks. That's the biggest thing you see from last year to this year - they are really getting off blocks, spinning and twisting. They don't stay blocked."

Certainly Arkansas, who almost had double the total offense South Carolina did last Saturday, has some scoring issues scoring to address and have been this week according to Nutt.

"We have been putting a lot of emphasis on goal line, the red zone, short yardage - things like that," Nutt said. "We know we have to get better, just have to."

Nutt said he is as frustrated as the fans right now, especially since a few plays here and there or a few different calls by himself and it would have been a season with a lot of promise left.

"I think the biggest things right now are confidence and experience - that combination," Nutt said. "You win a couple of those early I think you are setting here easily 5-3, 6-2, 7-1 - who knows."

"But that's woulda, shoulda, coulda - all that," Nutt added. "The only thing we can do is learn from that and try to get better each day and these guys are giving it to us."


Hawgs Daily Top Stories