Hogs Work On Special Teams Play

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas wrapped up its final preparations for Ole Miss on Thursday afternoon with one special thing on its mind — special teams.

Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt said he expected special teams to play a vital role in the outcome of Saturday's game against Ole Miss in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"We spent a lot of time on special teams. Their special teams have really made a lot of plays for them," Nutt said. "Their punt block team is one of the best ones in our (Southeastern) conference. They put their fastest guys on there, and they do a great job. They've blocked a bunch of punts this year.

"It's very, very important we know assignment, and we worked hard on that today."

Ole Miss has blocked three punts this season, though the first of two in a 14-9 loss to Georgia was called back because of a holding penalty.

Nutt, meanwhile, said sophomore Reggie Fish has worked his way into being the No. 1 punt returner for Saturday's game.

Fish, who returned two punts for 14 yards in Saturday's 63-7 win over Southeast Missouri State, was the only player catching punts in Thursday's practice. Redshirt freshman Michael Smith and freshman Damian Williams were also trying out at punt returner earlier this week.

"He's earned this," Nutt said of Fish. "He's worked really hard. This is his second year to work at it, and (he has) really been really consistent and we are going to give him an opportunity."

Nutt also praised quarterback Mitch Mustain, saying he has all confidence in the world in the freshman. Mustain has started the last five games, winning all of them despite struggling at times with his accuracy.

"I have a lot of confidence in him, otherwise he wouldn't be starting," Nutt said. "It takes a special freshman to start at this level. He's been doing a job, getting better each week and had a good week of practice."

Nutt said he has also warned his No. 15 Razorbacks about overlooking the Rebels (2-5, 1-3 SEC), who took Alabama to overtime last Saturday before losing on a 2-yard touchdown pass.

"They are very, very dangerous. They're a very good football team," Nutt said. "(They) had some things go against them early. They've gotten better and better the last three weeks. If you watched them against Georgia, against Alabama, they were toe-to-toe.

"That's why you have to be ready."

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