Tuesday Grid Update, 4/10

The passing game was a big focus in Tuesday's workout, but the Hogs also took time to work on the radar option with Darren McFadden at quarterback.

Football practice Tuesday at Arkansas was an even tug-of-war with both the offense and the defense winning battles depending on what period you asked about and who was on the field.

"We had a good day today, with good concentration and good attitude," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "Both the offense and the defense had good stretches. There were times the offense hit some plays and there were times that the defense got in gaps and caused problems."

The offense had plenty of big plays in both the passing and running game, the latter when Darren McFadden operated as quarterback in the Wildcat Package.

"It looked pretty good today," Nutt said of the Wildcat. "He can read the radar option, he really can. He is picking it up great. There are some nice plays in there with all of those guys on the field at the same time."

Nutt was making reference to the offensive personnel of McFadden at quarterback with a backfield loaded with Felix Jones, Peyton Hillis and Michael Smith. That group produced some big plays against both the first and second defense.

"That's going to be tough to handle," Nutt said. "We still have some work to do there, but Darren can read the option and he can make some throws in the passing game, too. It's a tough package to handle."

Nutt also had praise for backup receivers Reggie Fish and Ben Cleveland. He said both are enjoying "outstanding springs." Both have made plays consistently in the passing game.

"Reggie has had an outstanding spring," Nutt said. "He's always been quick, but he's stronger now. He brings a lot to the table as far as separation off the line. He has a role with our team. He's doing a great job of escaping. He's catching the ball well, too."

Nutt said the same goes for Cleveland. The tight end/H-back made a big catch over the middle for a touchdown in red zone work Tuesday.

"I put Ben in the same category as Reggie," Nutt said. "He's got a role for this team. He's very valuable. Ben can help Peyton at fullback and h-back and he is making plays as the traditional tight end, too. He's made a conversion and has learned his role exctremely fast. He's very valuable to this team."

Offensive coordinator David Lee likes everything he sees of Fish. He compared his ability to get separation off the line of scrimmage against press coverage to that of Terry Glenn, the wideout with the Dallas Cowboys.

"Now, Terry Glenn is bigger and has much bigger hands," Lee said. "Reggie isn't Terry. He's small and he has small hands. But he can get separation. He can get off the line in press coverage. Right now, yes, he has a role. With another 25 practices in the fall, he might even have a starting role with this team. He made some plays again today. He just has to be consistent in catching the ball. His hands are small and he has to continue to catch it."

The man with the biggest role on the squad is Hillis. Lee said it was obvious in watching film that the Hogs' suffered at the end of the season when Hillis was injured.

"I saw what him not being on the field did to them in those last three or four games," Lee said. "We are putting a lot on him. He's got a big, big role and he needs to keep studying it and learning it all. And, we need him to stay healthy. You saw him catch a vertical route for a TD in our scrimmage. We have a big package for him."

The UA staff will meet Wednesday, an off day from practice, to discuss plans for the Red-White scrimmage at 6 p.m. Saturday.

"We have to look at what we've got and talk about it hard," Nutt said. "It's still going to be something people will want to see, but we have to look at what we can do with what we have left. We are very thin."

The Hogs were hopeful that linebacker Matt Stoltz is not seriously hurt after he went down with a knee injury Tuesday.

"We hope it's not an ACL, but he heard a pop and was in pain," Nutt said. "We'll have to see. Hopefully, it's not serious."

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