Tuesday grid report, 4/4

Arkansas pits first offense against first defense in 11-on-11 work to finish Tuesday's workout, the midpoint in spring football drills. Images from today's workout are included at the end of this story.

Houston Nutt thought the Hogs had a good teaching day Tuesday as they hit the halfway stop in spring football drills.

"It was another good day," Nutt said. "From this point forward, we have to reach down and make sure we are doing everything we can to help our team get better. Each player has to ask themselves are they geting to treatment, are they giving everything they have?

"I told our team that they should remember what it looked like for Florida's coaches and players to go get that national championship trophy last night. Are they doing everything they can right now to help win a trophy?"

Nutt began to remind the media to promote the April 15 spring game, free to the public.

"From this point forward, we are going to emphasize the spring game, getting as many people here for that as possible," he said. "We want at least 30,000 here. It's going to be on TV and we want a big crowd for the TV to see. I'd like 40,000, but at least 30,000. That's what we are hoping we'll have. We are going to have a lot going on and a lot of former players back."

Nutt praised wide receiver Reggie Fish for some nice catches in third-down situational work on Tuesday, noting he blocked a punt in Monday's workout.

"Reggie Fish is making plays right now," Nutt said. "He made some nice catches today. Now, we need someone on the defense to go get the ball. He's got a tremendous role with our team. He's so quick off the line of scrimmage."

Sam Olajubutu and Antwain Robinson dropped potential pass interceptions on Tuesday, the only chances the defense had a shot at a turnover in the 11-on-11 segment at the end of the day.

Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring liked some of what he saw on Tuesday, but hasn't seen anyone step up at free safety.

"We've moved Randy Kelly to strong safety and we have no one at free, no one," Herring said. "We are going to let it ride at free with Rashaad Johnson for the better part of a week. It'll take that long to really give him a chance to be fair to him. You can't play musical chairs too much. You have to give him a chance because he hasn't been at safety. He is athletic.

"We have a major eyesore at safety right now, at free safety. It's still up in the air. It's not a good deal at all to think that none of the players who are here have stepped up.

"Desmond Sims was a pleasant situation today. He had a bad yesterday, but he came back and practiced hard and was in the right places.

"Antwain Robinson is competing excellent with Anthony Brown at one of the end spots and I'd say they are No. 1 and No. 1 even there. We just don't have a free safety right now. Kelly is good at strong, where we moved him, but his deal is he needs to be more consistent and focus a little better."

Herring said defensive tackle Keith Jackson has reclaimed the first-team spot after being demoted early last week in favor of Cord Gray.

"Our linemen and tackles are coming along just fine," he said. "There are no Outland Trophy winners there, but they are fighting and doing the right things. Keith picked it up the last few days and what he did yesterday told us he was ready to be back on the first team.

"He was goofing off at the start of spring drills. He was back to the old Keith Jackson, not the one who finished the year playing well. He's practicing hard again. He can be on the first team again now."

Asked about the linebackers, Herring said he was happy with the starters, but not any of the backups.

"The number two linebackers are not here right now," he said. "They are at their (high school) prom and popping zits. I'm serious. They are just not here yet."

Nutt said the Hogs looked more at the shotgun formation and said it was good to work against the top defense with the first offense. Reggie Herring said it helped to see the best players for his unit, too.

"We didn't tackle today, but we saw true speed and that helps you get better," Herring said. "We are going to get better anytime we go against the ones like we did today."

Tailback Felix Jones is one of the offensive stars that continues to impress with his speed.

"I do know I'm faster," Jones said. "I never lifted during the winter until this year. I was always at basketball. So, I'm stronger, but maybe not bigger. My legs are stronger. I'm much faster and quicker. I know my moves are quicker. I feel it and everyone else sees it, too."

Jones said the tailback duo that featured himself and fellow freshman Darren McFadden in the fall is stronger now with the addition of classmate Michael Smith, out last fall with a knee injury.

"He is really, really fast and quick," Jones said. "And, he has some great hands. Actually, we can all catch it and are going to get to play some wideout in this offense. We love that.

"Wideout was my first position. I played it from middle school until the ninth grade and that's when I got moved to tailback. I like lining up at wideout. Anytime I'm on the field, I'm happy. All of us are the same way. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Gus Malzahn instructs Cedric Washington (10) and Cedric Logan (6).

Louis Campbell works with Rashaad Johnson (15) and Matterral Richardson (16).

Quarterbacks and centers get some pre-practice work Tuesday.

Reggie Herring puts the defense through some alignment checks before practice Tuesday.

Photos by Clay Henry

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