Dick Tries To Forget About "Worst Game"

FAYETTEVILLE — Casey Dick wasn't booed by the home crowd, and Arkansas coach Houston Nutt didn't lose faith in his starting quarterback.

But things clearly didn't go well for the sophomore on Friday. In fact, he had never experienced a game like that before. Dick overthrew his wide receivers, held onto the football when he should have gotten rid of it and simply had a "rough day" in a 31-26 loss to No. 5 LSU in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium. "Throwing the football obviously begins with me. And when you don't execute well, everybody is going to look at me, which they should," Dick said Monday. "That's probably the worst game I've ever played in, to be honest with anybody." It wasn't bad enough for Dick to losing his starting job. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt reaffirmed Sunday that he was sticking with the sophomore as his starting quarterback when the No. 8 Razorbacks (10-2, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) face No. 4 Florida (11-1, 7-1) at 5 p.m. Saturday in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. But Nutt said he wants to see Dick make better decisions and be more accurate with his passes. Dick admits he's hoping for the same after completing just 3 of 17 passes for 29 yards with one touchdown and interception against LSU. "Everybody has a bad day, and my day came at the wrong time," Dick said. "We already have those things corrected and fixed, and we'll be a totally different football team come Saturday." Dick got off to a promising start against the Tigers, and he had no reason to believe that it would go any differently. He completed his first pass for seven yards, and he led the Razorbacks 80 yards for a touchdown on the team's opening possession. But things went downhill from there, and by the time the afternoon was over, Dick was bruised and answering questions about whether he thought he was going to get benched in favor of freshman Mitch Mustain. Dick completed only one pass after the first quarter — a 21-yard touchdown throw to wide receiver Marcus Monk — and he missed on all eight of his pass attempts in the second half. It didn't help that his receivers dropped several balls. Dick had a pass intercepted when he threw over the head of 6-foot-3 tight end Wes Murphy, and the turnover led to LSU scoring a touchdown three plays later to take a 24-12 lead with 12:07 remaining. And Arkansas' chances of pulling off the come-from-behind win fell short when Dick threw four straight incompletions, the last intended for London Crawford with 1:31 left. "He's more accurate than that, and you have to be accurate in a game like that," Nutt said. Just how bad did things get for Dick? Running back Darren McFadden was Arkansas' leading passer after completing just two passes for 33 yards. Though disappointed, Dick said he doesn't think his performance against LSU will cause him to doubt his ability to lead the offense against Florida, which also has one of the nation's top defenses. Dick also doesn't believe he'll constantly be looking over his shoulder Saturday, worried that a few bad passes will get him replaced by Mustain. "You've kind of got to throw (the LSU game) out the window and just forget about it. The confidence level is fine," Dick said. "We've already started watching film, and we've just got to start preparing and just not worry about last week and worry about Florida, who we're playing in Atlanta." McFadden Named SEC Co-Offensive Player of Week Despite being the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher and a likely Heisman Trophy finalist, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden hadn't been named the SEC's offensive player of the week this season until Monday. McFadden shared the honor with Florida quarterback Chris Leak despite the sophomore running back rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns in Friday's 31-26 loss to No. 5 LSU. McFadden was also the Razorbacks' leading passer with two completions for 33 yards. Leak, meanwhile, completed 21 of 34 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns while leading No. 4 Florida to a 21-14 win at Florida State. Both players will face off when the Razorbacks and Gators meet at 5 p.m. Saturday in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta's Georgia Dome. Nutt Named Finalist For Robinson Coach of the Year Award At the start of the season, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was considered to be on the hot seat. He's now a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. Nutt was named Monday as one of nine finalists for the coaching award after leading the No. 8 Razorbacks (10-2, 7-1 SEC) to a surprising turnaround. Following a 50-14 loss to No. 3 Southern California in the season opener, Arkansas won 10 straight games to clinch the SEC West title and earn the chance to face Florida in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday. The other coaching finalists are Rutgers' Greg Schiano, Wake Forest's Jim Grobe, Houston's Art Briles, Hawaii's June Jones, Michigan's Lloyd Carr, BYU's Bronco Mendenhall, Boise State's Chris Petersen and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops. The winner of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award will be announced and honored at a reception on Jan. 5 in Glendale, Ariz. A Bad Day Sophomore Casey Dick had what he described as his "worst game" as a quarterback in Arkansas' 31-26 loss to No. 5 LSU. He completed only 3 of 17 passes for 29 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Here is a breakdown of how Dick fared in each quarter against the Tigers' top-ranked defense: First Quarter Comp. Att. Yds. TD Int. 2 5 8 0 0 Second Quarter Comp. Att. Yds. TD Int. 1 4 21 1 0 Third Quarter Comp. Att. Yds. TD Int. 0 2 0 0 0 Fourth Quarter Comp. Att. Yds. TD Int. 0 6 0 0 1

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