Friday Grid Report, 12-29

ORLANDO - So far no Disney characters have been harmed in preparation for the Capital One Bowl.

But there are still a few days left before Monday's noon (CST) kickoff between Arkansas (10-3) and Wisconsin (11-1) so Mickey Mouse and others still need to be aware of the crowd they run with these last 72 hours or so.

After all, Razorback defensive coordinator Reggie Herring did say he wanted his troops to punch Mickey Mouse in the mouth when they saw him.

"I guess word got out because I haven't seen him yet," Herring said following Friday morning's one-hour practice.

"In all seriousness, all that was was our theme," Herring added. "Our theme was, we were going to set the tempo even before we left. It's going to be a physical game, we had to be in a physical frame of mind and that's our job is to make sure our players are ready to go."

That mindset has continued as Arkansas continued its workouts in Orlando this week.

As game time draws near, its actually begun to warm up in Florida after a cold spell earlier this week greeted head coach Houston Nutt's team.

"There is nothing like beautiful sunshine and there is nothing like a good practice," Nutt said. "We are getting closer. We had a good day today. (The weather) is perfect. I hope it's just like this on Monday."

Warm weather can't hurt as Arkansas tries to get injured linebackers Weston Dacus (stomach flu) and Matt Hewitt (ankle, knee) back healthy in time for the matchup.

"They've worked hard, but there is no doubt we've been patch-and-go all week," Herring said. "I mean, Dacus missed all of the bowl practice, and he's been here the last two days and missed the most physical part of the practices. But he's back, and that's definitely a help."

As is the way senior Cedric Washington and junior Robert Johnson – both converted quarterbacks – have stepped up at the flanker spot with freshman starter Damian Williams leaving the team.

"Robert Johnson and Cedric Washington have had excellent practices," Nutt said. "They are definitely huge in our game plan."

Junior split end Marcus Monk, the Razorbacks' number one pass-catching target, has seen change in both Washington and Johnson since Williams bolted.

"We have a lot of quality receivers, a lot of good receivers," Monk said. "So if they (the Badgers) do focus on me, it just gives chances for the other receivers.

"I see them getting more comfortable because they're getting more reps," Monk said.

Who will be throwing the most passes to the wideouts during the game is left to be determined, but sophomore starter Casey Dick and freshman back-up Mitch Mustain – due in on the third Razorback offensive series of the game - have looked sharp this week per their head coach.

"Both of them have done a great job this week," Nutt said. "They have had great attitudes. Casey has been extremely sharp. I think the competition has been great. Both of them are going to play and we'll see what happens."

Arkansas, whose players spent Friday afternoon after Sea World, seem focused according to Nutt.

"We are ready to go", Nutt said. "We are ready to play. We have had a great week. There are a lot of things to do and this is a great city. The Capital One Bowl staff has been great. (The players) are getting anxious."

The Razorbacks will be back on the practice field Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.


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