Tuesday Practice Report, 8/27

Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt doesn't need another scrimmage to pick his starting quarterback for the season opener. Nutt canceled the last major scrimmage and named his starter for the Boise State game.

Houston Nutt went ahead and ended the great quarterback debate by announcing that Matt Jones would start in the season opener after football practice Tuesday.

Nutt said he told all three quarterbacks of his choice during meetings Monday, and then broke it to the media after the lone workout on the day Tuesday.

"Let's get this out of the way," Nutt said. "First, let me say that we got Matt Jones away from Oklahoma because we said he could play basketball. He understood in the spring that he was behind, but he worked to regain his form in the spring and this summer, and he got the team in the end zone in the scrimmages during two-a-days."

Nutt wouldn't say whether or not Tarvaris Jackson or Ryan Sorahan is the No. 2 quarterback. Instead, Nutt said, "We've got 2A and 2B. It's that close. There is no third teamer. I told them all that they are going to be needed and they are all winners. Guys, we've got three very good ones."

Matt Jones said he never felt frustrated at the way things went in the fall.

"I was third team," he said. "That's the way it should have been. The others were ahead of me in the spring. But, I thought I could do it. I never felt like there was a time that I wasn't going to do it and be the (starter).

"All three of us felt like we could do it, and all three are going to be needed. The coaches told us that all three will have a chance to help this team win ball games this fall and all of us are going to be needed at points in this season. We have to be ready."

Nutt said both Jackson and Sorahan were disappointed in the decision.

"They are competitors," Nutt said. "They wanted to be the starter. I understand that. And, each of them might be the starter before it's done."

Nutt said there was no use in delaying the decision since Jones played so well in the two scrimmages.

"We needed to pick a quarterback and get him ready for the opener," he said. "Matt will get the bulk of the snaps from this point forward."

However, Jackson did get several turns with the first group again Tuesday.

"Tarvaris looked very good today," Nutt said. "He had a very good practice. He threw the ball as well today as he's thrown."

Jones added, "You can't help but be impressed with what Tarvaris did today. He had a great practice and he's done that a lot this fall."

Jones was good, too, and it was apparent his shoulder benefitted from a couple of days of rest.

"It felt pretty good," Jones said. "I think it's going to be okay. Two days rest helped. Being done with two-a-days is helping, too."

The UofA began classes Monday, the reason Nutt gave the team off.

"Our team looked good today," Nutt said. "We always give them the first day of classes off to get them started right on their academics. And, you can tell it helped their legs."

Nutt said the team was beginning to focus on Boise State, the Hogs' opener on Sept. 7.

"They are very good and will play us hard and well," Nutt said. "They have a great quarterback and a solid defense. Our players know they will have to be ready for a tough opponent. We need to concentrate on Boise State at this point."

Nutt said he is not ruling out another brief scrimmage, but it will not be anything like the first two the Hogs held.

"We could put the ball down for 10 or 12 plays any of the next few days, but it will just be something to stay sharp ... not a major scrimmage like we've had," he said. "We will still hit, but not to the extent that we've hit over the last week."

Nutt had his squad split into varsity and scout team, so it was a bit easier to pick out the redshirt candidates.

"We still have Tony Ugoh in the game plan at backup left tackle, and Dedrick Poole at wide receiver, among the freshman," Nutt said. "Defensively, we are still looking at John Jackson at corner, Vickiel Vaughn as the second team free safety and at Marcus Whitmore and Sam Olajubutu at inside linebacker. The others, we'd like to redshirt, but we've told them all to be ready because we may still need them."

Nutt said it's obvious from watching Reggie Banks practice twice that the freshman from Shreveport "is very talented. He's over weight, probably right at 300, but he can still move and is very strong." Banks must sit out as a partial qualifier, but is now working with the scout team.

The training staff indicated that there is still no conclusive evidence of a torn ACL in J. Strain's injured left knee. Doctors have looked at one MRI and have now ordered a second one tonight. There may be word on Wednesday on Strain's knee.

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