Sunday Grid Update, 12/17

Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt said he hasn't picked a starter for the bowl game and won't for several more days. That was the news Sunday after a short workout.

First, no starting quarterback has been named. Houston Nutt said the Hogs will not have a starting quarterback until the team practices at the bowl site and that will be Monday, Dec. 25.

"We've communicated that all along, that we will name our starter when we get down there (to Orlando, Fla.)," Houston Nutt said after a brief Sunday workout.

Sports information director Kevin Trainor said the confusion over the quarterback situation happened when his staff placed an Associated Press wire story on the school website prepared with information from two weeks ago.

"We get the AP wire and from time to time we put some of the content on our website," Trainor said. "AP produced a bowl preview that included our team and we thought it would be good to place it there. There were quotes from before the SEC championship game pertaining to the quarterback situation and are not relevant to what is going on right now. That will be the last time we use that content on our website (because of the confusion)."

Nutt said he's been clear from the site that snaps in bowl preparation would be 50-50 between Casey Dick, the starter at the end of the season, and Mitch Mustain, the starter for eight games in the front half of the season.

"We wanted to create competition," Nutt said. "It had nothing to do with anything that had happened, just a way of creating competition. Competition is healthy.

"No, we have not named a starter yet. We'll do it when we get down there."

Asked about the play of the quarterbacks, Nutt said both have performed well throughout bowl preparations. Concerning Mustain's play, Nutt said, "He's been much better than he was at any time since two-a-days. He looked good in two-a-days. It's been like night and day this past week compared to during the season. He's been very good.

"I'm telling you this, we will play the best one, and at this point it could be either one. It definitely could be Mitch. We are having good competition. We have not decided which one is best right now. We've got four more days of practice."

Sunday's workout, around one hour, was open to the media. The offense worked outside while the defense went inside Walker Pavilion.

"We did a lot of kicking game situations today," Nutt said. "Everyone knows how important the kicking game is and we really hit it hard today. We want to get our kicking game back to where it was over the first 10 or 11 weeks of the season."

Several offensive stars nursed injuries, but participated in drills nonetheless. Peyton Hillis, out the last month with a thigh bruise, went through the first part of the workout and looked much better than he did three days ago before a training procedure loosened calcium deposits in his thigh. Darren McFadden was limited, but did participate in some drills.

"Darren went hard yesterday and he was sore today," Nutt said. "He had a high ankle sprain that went all the way to his Achilles' tendon in the championship game. It was worse than we thought. And, he was sore today after going hard on it on Saturday. We held him out of a few things today to rest it. He'll be fine by next week."

Felix Jones looked full speed, Nutt said. Jones, the backup tailback, nursed a slight injury for a couple of days last week, but has been fine over the last several workouts.

"I think (Jones) was slowed for maybe the first day of our workouts last week, but I haven't seen any problems the last five or six days with Felix," Nutt said.

"It was good to have Peyton Hillis out here today. He went through the individual periods and a few plays before we pulled him out. He is getting better and we are encouraged."

The Hogs will lift weights Monday morning before donning full pads for a 4 p.m. workout.

"We are going full pads Monday through Wednesday and we will hit," Nutt said. "We've had very physical workouts and we'll have three more this week. We won't go as hard Thursday morning."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories