Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was delighted to have Walker Pavilion for Tuesday's morning workout ... especially when a long, intense thunderstorm rolled into the Fayetteville area midway through the workout.
"We are glad to have this place," he said. "We'll probably be in here this afternoon, too."
The practice field was flooded with the torrential rain that hit just as practice concluded and players had to slosh through the wide puddles to get to the Broyles Center.
Desmond Sims took center stage in the morning workout with a one-handed catch over the middle on a bullet through from Cedric Washington. There were other stars, too, but none were brighter than Sims.
"That was a pretty good catch," Nutt said, "maybe in the top five I've ever seen."
Nutt said it compared with the diving catch made by Marvin Jackson about the same point in newcomers practices last year.
"Desmond Sims is making it hard on us in staff meetings," Nutt said. "Bobby Allen has asked for him at linebacker, Chris Vaughn wants him at rover, Dave Wommack wants him at free safety and James Shibest wants him at wide receiver."
He was at wide receiver in pass scale drills when he went deep to make his one-handed, lefty grab with his arm extended. Interestingly, Sims said he is ambidextrous. The stunning catch produced gasps among everyone present at Walker Pavilion.
"I shoot basketball with my left, and I write with my right," he said. "In baseball, I can pitch with either hand. I probably am more accurate with my right, but I throw harder with my left. I can use either hand."
Wide receiver coach James Shibest admits he covets Sims, but thinks his 6-2, 200-pound body is probably suited best for the defensive secondary.
"I think he can play about anywhere, but he reminds you of Kenny Hamlin," Shibest said. "Plus, I can't take them all. I've already got Michael Coe, David Thompson, and will probably get Dedrick Poole, too. So, you have to keep some numbers on defense, too. I had John Jackson the other day, but Dave Wommack needs him at corner. I'd take Jackson and Sims, but you have to even out the numbers. Heck, all of our coaches would take Sims. A lot of hands went up in the meeting room on his name."
Sims has no preference.
"It doesn't matter," he said. "Where they need me is where I'll play. I just want to play. I'm happy."
Inside linebacker coach Bobby Allen also admitted he wanted Sims.
"I know I'm not going to get him, but I'd love him at linebacker," Allen said. "He's got the frame to be 230 in a year or two. So, I know he could play linebacker.
"What you like about him is that he is a playmaker. And, you can say that about a lot of these guys. I think this is a heckuva class. You see guys like John Jackson, Desmond Sims, Vickiel Vaughn, Marcus Whitmore and some others make play after play. I love their ability, and the character of the group."
Danny Nutt said there's nothing wrong with any of his backs, but that Dedrick Poole and Brandon Kennedy have had awesome starts to practice.
"Dedrick stands out in every drill, every situation," Danny Nutt said. "He just makes every play and does it so smoothly. Brandon Kennedy is a man with great legs."
Tony Ugoh (66) and Wes Murphy visit before Tuesday's morning workout.
The rovers and safeties work through a drill Tuesday morning.
Gene Perry visits with a TV cameraman.
Houston Nutt visits with Zac Tubbs (66) and Tony Ugoh before practice.
Michael Coe (left) and David Thompson prepare to run a route.
Here's the outside of Walker Pavilion where the Hogs conduct indoor workouts.
Walker Pavilion has a full sized field for indoor workouts.
The Hogs prepare for an indoor workout in Walker Pavilion.
Walker Pavilion is large enough to conduct passing drills, and a full practice.
An new AstroPlay surface was installed in Walker Pavilion in the summer of 2002.
Photos by Clay Henry