Wednesday Grid Update, 11/15

The Arkansas coaches -- and a senior captain -- liked what they saw Wednesday as the Hogs practiced for Saturday's game at Mississippi State.

Arkansas went inside to get out of 40 degree temperatures and wind-blown rain Wednesday, but still managed a practice that pleased Sam Olajubutu.

Olajubutu is the senior outside linebacker who told his teammates before Tuesday's workout that if they slacked off at any point this week he'd have the coaches restart workouts.

"They did great," Olajubutu said. "They were flying around. That's what I asked them to do. I thought we have had two very good days. Today's workout was one of our better practices. I thought the guys were intense and had a good day.

"I don't like to say a lot, but I thought it was time to speak up. Mostly, it was other guy's doing the talking at the meeting Tuesday."

Houston Nutt, Arkansas head coach, loved what he saw on Wednesday, too.

"It was good intensity, good concentration," Nutt said. "We came inside because of the weather and got in some good work against Mississippi State's offense, defense and kicking game."

Nutt expects a tough test at Starkville where they'll try to block a defense that only gives up 113 yards per game on the ground.

"They have excellent speed at defensive end and they have the same tackles back and are much improved," Nutt said. "Those ends are very good. They are big, strong and can really move."

The Hogs rested plenty of regulars on Wednesday. Nutt said most of the players who watched are upper classmen who have been in plenty of SEC battles.

"We held out Marcus Monk, Red Richardson, Darius Vinnett and a few others that are going to be fine to play," Nutt said. "Marcus is a guy who has played a lot of plays. So has Richardson. We know what we are going to get on Saturday."

Cornerback coach Bobby Allen said Richardson sat out just to try to get his legs fresh for Saturday. Allen said he had a long talk after practice with Richardson concerning his four personal fouls this season.

"The discussion was about what people leave the game talking about," Allen said. "It's ashame they come away with the impression that he got a personal foul when he did so many other good things. If he left out that one play, what impression would they have? He has to leave that one play out. If he does, the impression is totally different.

"To the average eye, they see that personal foul and nothing else when it's a play like that. You don't want to have one play bring that kind of attention on him. He understands now.

"He's really played great except for those few plays. I talked to him about making sure that all of the plays he puts into his bank are positive and not any negatives. It's about accumlating all positive plays in the bank account.

"I told him that he's put himself in position where he's going to be looked at (by NFL scouts) next year. The focus is going to be more intense at that point and he has to eliminate those personal fouls right now."

Allen said he's pleased with the way Richardson, Chris Houston and Darius Vinnett have performed.

"Really, Chris and Red are two different kind of players," Allen said. "Chris does it with physical play at the line of scrimmage. He's got something there that's different from most corners. What Red does is more up the field. He has the ability to read the eyes and the hips of the wideout and make those cuts with them. They both have great change of direction.

"Both players have big bodies for corners and are extremely aggressive and play with confidence. I like the aggressiveness, but I don't want Red to make those personal fouls what people write about instead of his ability."

Allen is thankful to have Darius Vinnett back on game day, even if the Hogs have been careful to practice him.

"We are being careful because of his concussions," Allen said. "We are holding him out of most of our practices.

"But he gives us the ability to play some packages we couldn't in the middle of the year because he is a cover corner, a very good cover corner. He gives us a bunch of depth and the ability to rest Red and Chris some. We couldn't do that earlier. And, of course, when we see a team play three wideouts, we can match them with corners. When we pull Chris or Red with Darius on the field, we don't see any difference."

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