The hay's not in the barn yet, but it's getting close and on Friday the barn was officially sold out.
The University of Arkansas football team will wake up Saturday morning just one week away from its season-opener with visiting USC at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, which the school says officially became soldout with all tickets USC return sold on Friday.
There were construction crews adding more seats to the top of the South end zone stands on Friday while the Razorbacks practiced and UA head coach Houston Nutt made sure his team noticed that after practice ended.
"You have got to give a lot of credit to your fans that (UA athletic director) Coach (Frank) Broyles is having to go out and get more seats to try and accommodate more fans," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "I told our team they want to come see you and I feel like that's an awesome responsibility to be a Razorback. It's what we have talked about before. As large as this stadium is now, we need more seats. That's a good thing.
"It's an exciting time that we have had here in a long time," Nutt continued. "The passion, the anticipation has just been unbelievable. I am glad it is just about here."
The Razorbacks will go through a closed dress rehearsal Saturday after having a one-hour workout on Friday.
"We took it off of them physically today, but try to have a high mental, mental, practice and thought we did very good," Nutt said. "We worked on the two-minute drill very hard, substitution for situations, field goal at the end of the first half, field goal at the end of the game and just trying to teach everybody to know how to get out of bounds, how to stop the clock - something that simple. You try to cover everything, every situation that could possibly happen."
That will expand Friday's type of practice on Saturday when they will basically go through gameday - just without the fans, band and media on hand.
"It will be more extensive," Nutt said. "We will come back in full pads and do it from top to bottom - kickoff, kickoff return, sudden change. We will put them in every situation known and we have had this script for a long time and it covers everything. Like how you punt after a safety and little things like that you sometimes take for granted."
Top reserve linebacker Weston Dacus missed practice on Friday but is do back on Monday while redshirt freshman tailback Michael Smith (hamstring) was able to go through the workout.
"He (Smith) is doing better," Nutt said. "He ran better today and we've just got to keep going back-to-back-to-back days. His problem has been staying out here on the field. He will have one or two good days and then he'll get hurt. He has had three good days (this week), but I want them consecutive. He hasn't had three consecutive days of staying out here."
According to Nutt, Arkansas ended the Friday practice with Stephen Arnold making 33- and 34-yard field goals on consecutive two minutes drives.
Nutt noted that having a lot of wideouts who can contribute this season should help Arkansas in those two-minute situations.
"Depth always helps no matter what position," Nutt said. "It helps with competition, conditioning, all that. The key is that everybody knows what to do. It's not good to have a long line of guys if they don't execute and don't follow through. But they all executed today and we have to keep executing."
He also noted that some of his sophomores - that were true freshman last season - should have banner seasons because of the experience gained in 2005.
"That is one of the reasons that you want see as many freshman this year playing because of the ones that played last season and injuries," Nutt said. "Anytime you get to get on a field as a freshman and you are a year older, especially if you did some good things. We have got some very good freshmen (this year) too, but we have just had some bad luck with injuries early.
"Hopefully Ryan Powers will get back strong," Nutt added. "He was going strong before he got hurt. And hopefully we will get (freshman wideout London) Crawford back in the next couple of days."
Nutt said that true freshman linebacker Chip Gregory, who has missed time due to a shoulder injury, is headed for a redshirt year.
"That is probably the best thing right now, but it's still early so let's just wait and see," Nutt said.
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