Houston Nutt was excited about the younger players after watching them scrimmage after the varsity completed its conditioning drills Tuesday afternoon as the Arkansas football team returned to the practice field on Tuesday.
Nutt gave the Hogs two days off after they defeated South Florida, 42-3. After resting on Sunday and Monday, Nutt thought his troops were sharp and enthusiastic on Tuesday.
"The thing that is obvious to me is that our guys really love to play the game," he said. "They come to the practice field ready to perform. They were very good today. I thought it was a very good practice.
"We rested a few of the peopel that are banged up, but it was still a good day for work for most of the team. Then, afterwards, we let the young guys hit a little. One of the highlights was Michael Robinson. That was his first day out there to really do something and that was good. And, some others like John Jackson, Vickiel Vaughn, Sam Olajubutu, John Johnson, Cedric Washington, Tyler Morgan and Chase Pressley ... those guys all looked good."
Robinson is a redshirt freshman who has been injured since he arrived on campus last fall. He is still recovering from a broken leg and knee surgery, including some injuries from his high school career. Tuesday's scrimmage marked the first full contact work for Robinson as a Razorback.
The Hogs learned that backup center Josh Melton should be available against Alabama. He sustained a bone bruise against USF. He could probably play if the Hogs had a game this week, but he will benefit from the open date.
Ryan Sorahan took the bulk of the snaps in team work at quarterback with both Matt Jones and Tarvaris Jackson resting some bumps and bruises, none of which are serious. George Wilson appeared to be hobbled with an ankle injury, and did not practice much.
The Hogs will practice in full pads again Wednesday and Thursday before taking Friday and Saturday off.
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said he was pleased with the way the Hogs graded out against USF.
"Until the last drive (against the third team), we were only out there for 42 snaps, so we didn't have many plays and we did pretty well," Wommack said. "We made some mistakes, but not many. Batman Carroll, Ken Hamlin, most all of the linebackers, and our front people of Jermaine Brooks, Raymond House and Gavin Walls really played very well. Our defense played very fast and very, very hard in both of our first two games. That's what we are seeing and that is a good thing. We made some mistakes, but we still played extremely hard.
"This will be a different game. Alabama has much better players than we've seen, and everyone knows that. Some say that they are more smashmouth and that may be true to some extent, but when you look at their scheme, it's very similar to Boise State, but they just have better players in every spot."
The offensive line begins their gassers on Tuesday.
Jeb Huckeba heads off the field after Tuesday's extensive running.
Houston Nutt (left) and Don Decker supervise the gassers after Tuesday's workout.
Jeremaine Brooks totes his pads as he heads to the locker room after running.
The offensive line, with Mark Bokermann in the forefront, prepares to run.
Photos by Clay Henry