With a bevy of activity going on around it in what will be one of the more action-packed sports weekends in Fayetteville in a long time, the University of Arkansas football program all but closed up shop on spring practice on Friday afternoon.
The only thing left – the Red-White scrimmage at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday – will feature a loaded Red squad featuring the top players on the roster against everybody else in an event that will be televised by ESPNU on a tape-delayed basis at 5 p.m.
"It's been a good spring and we just want to have a good concentration, make sure you have the kicking game in order, make sure you have 11 on the field at all times – especially if you are going to be on national TV," UA head coach Houston Nutt said. "We have worked hard on that, extra point, kickoff return, punt return, getting the teams divided. There was good concentration today because we didn't have one mishap."
The Red-White game is just one of the many things going on in Fayetteville this weekend along with Lettermen's Weekend, Razorfest – featuring alumni players in 7-on-7 games – a three-game weekend baseball series between the Razorbacks and Kentucky , the Real Deal on the Hill AAU basketball tournament and an official visit by Chicago hoops star Patrick Beverley.
Not to mention the close to 200 prospects that will be on hand for Arkansas' second and biggest even Junior Day.
"It is unbelievable," Nutt said. "It is an amazing recruiting tool and it is going to be such a great atmosphere with everything going on up here this weekend," Nutt said. "I am glad they are going to get to see first hand the Razorfest, our former players and the atmosphere."
Chris Vaughn, the UA's coordinator of on-campus recruiting, is very much enthused about the recruits on hand this weekend.
Several UA 2006 signees such as quarterback Mitch Mustain and wideouts Damian Williams, Marques Wade, Ramon Broadway and London Crawford - who confirmed he has passed his ACT – took in the Friday workout as did junior offensive line recruits Lee Ziemba of Rogers and Seth Oxner of Monticello.
"It's the biggest and best one we have every had and we think we have a great opportunity to make some headway with these kids this weekend," Vaughn said. "Basically we are in the selling business and we think we have a great product to sell to them this weekend."
Nutt played golf earlier Friday with some former Razorback great football players and coaches.
"It was gredat being with all of our former Razorback players – old and young," Nutt said. "It was just great to see them all."
Everybody is set to play on Saturday except for starting offensive lineman Tony Ugoh - who will be with the track team instead - and wideout Rod Coleman, who has been injured most of the spring.
The game will feature offensive standouts Darren McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis – all who have become as big a weapons catching the ball this spring as running it as Arkansas moves to a more balanced offense under new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and quarterbacks coach Alex Wood.
"We are going to try and get them some work – just don't know how much yet," Nutt said. "Can't really put a number on it."
Nutt knows what he wants from his players on Saturday.
"I want everybody to play extremely hard," Nutt said. "Take what you've done the whole spring and take it to a game-like atmosphere, see who is going to concentrate and see who is going to handle their responsibilities and their assignments when the pressure is on and it is a game-like situation. It is always interesting to me to see how people respond when things are a little bit different."
The only non-game like situation will be on punt and kickoff returns.
It's going to be played like a real football game, that play will just not be tackled to the ground," Nutt said. "It will basically be two-hand touch on that."
It's important to Nutt that the team close things out as well as possible.
"You want to finish on a great note," Nutt said. "You had a good spring and you want to finish it right."
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