Hogs Make Weekend Plans

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas offensive tackle Zac Tubbs hopes to go fishing on a lake. Coach Houston Nutt wants to get lost in the woods for a few hours. And defensive tackle Keith Jackson's plans for Saturday are rather simple.

"Shoot, I might sleep all day, you never know," Jackson said.

Usually, at this time of year, there is no need for Arkansas' coaches and players to make any plans on Saturdays. Why bother? Their schedules include football games and not much else.

But this weekend is different.

This is Arkansas' only open week of the regular season, and Nutt has given his players today and Saturday off before they return to practice Sunday afternoon to start preparing for second-ranked Auburn.

For some players, the break is a chance for them to catch up on sleep, homework and watching football. For others, though, it's the perfect time for a road trip.

Wide receiver Damian Williams said he's piling into a car with cornerback Jerell Norton, wide receiver Reggie Fish and offensive lineman DeMarcus Love and leaving today to visit his brother in Dallas.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Marcus Monk will head home to Lepanto in Northeast Arkansas to relax with his family, and more importantly, eat some of his mother's cooking.

"I haven't had a home-cooked meal, a meal from her in a while," Monk said. "So it doesn't even matter (what she makes)."

Arkansas' players should enjoy the weekend as much as possible because they won't get another one like it until early December.

Starting with next Saturday's game at Auburn, the Razorbacks (3-1, 2-0 SEC) play eight straight games, ending the regular season with a Nov. 24 showdown with LSU in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.

With such a long grind ahead of them, Arkansas' coaches and players say they hope to use the days off to heal their wounds and rejuvenate their spirits following a draining 24-23 double-overtime win against Alabama.

They can relax for a few days like linebacker Sam Olajubutu, go to Fort Smith like kicker Jeremy Davis or maybe catch a pair of high school football games like wide receiver Ben Cleveland.

"I don't care whether you're a player, a coach, old (or) young, you need to get away at times. And that recharges your battery and keeps you from getting worn out, both mentally and physically," Arkansas secondary coach Louis Campbell said.

"I think it's crucial to have an open date somewhere in the middle of the year just so you can — for the players, for the coaches, for everybody — get away."

Campbell said he plans to spend Saturday going fly-fishing for the first time since early August. But before that, he'll get away from the Hogs by checking out some "hogs" at this weekend's Bikes, Blues & BBQ festival in Fayetteville.

There is a chance he could run into offensive guard Stephen Parker, who said he'll be there among the crowd to admire the motorcycles and hopefully run into custom bike builder/TV personality Jesse James.

"Some people go home, but this is my last semester up here so I don't feel like going home. I'm going to have plenty of time for home in the spring," said Parker, a senior. "This is my last semester up here, so I'm going to try to soak everything up."

But it's still football season after all. And just because Arkansas has the weekend off doesn't mean that every assistant coach will have the opportunity to get away for a few days.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said he has too much work to do correcting the problems on offense to take the weekend off. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has tapes of recruits to evaluate.

"The only thing that we got off this week is we don't have the mental pressure of getting ready for a game," Herring said, "and that takes about five years out of your life each week."

Nutt said he has plenty of work to do this weekend, as well. But he also plans to squeeze in a family dinner Saturday night, watch plenty of college football during the day and maybe spend a few hours in between riding his horse around his 45 to 50-acre property.

"I just like going out there by myself, getting out in the woods," Nutt said. "Nobody asks me a question."

He might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

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