Wednesday Grid Report, 9/18

Arkansas looked at a new punt returner in Wednesday's workout, and also gave the youngsters some scrimmage time.

The biggest news out of spirited 2-hour Wednesday practice is who might be returning punts when Arkansas returns to the field a week from Saturday to host Alabama.

It will be either incumbent Lawrence Richardson (who had trouble against South Florida), DeCori Birmingham (who took over late against South Florida) or newcomers Carlos Ousley or Cedric Washington.

Yes, that's redshirting freshman Cedric Washington, who came to campus as a quarterback and has made it clear that he wanted to redshirt.

"If he is the guy we'll take the shirt off of him," UA head coach Houston Nutt said. "If he is the best of eleven, we're going to put him out there. That's a big play and that's also where you miss Marvin Jackson. I've talked to him and he's very unselfish and said he'll play."

Ousley is the walk-on wide receiver with the dredlocks who transferred from Wake Forest, redshirted last season and who has missed the first two games with an injury.
But he is also the same guy who had an electrifying spring game and who has looked very good in practices Tuesday and Wednesday.

You can expect to see him in the rotation and catching passes starting against Alabama whether he is returning punts or not.

"He is really an exciting player who is learning fast and is going to help us a lot," Nutt said.

Arkansas' practice Wednesday included the first-team offense going against the first-team defendse in a protected session.

"We had a good long practice today," Nutt said. "We went good on good today - good defense against good offense, and not tackling to the ground but full speed. We tried to run a few plays from the Alabama game plan and really tried to mix that in on both sides of the ball."

The Razorbacks probably were as vocal and enthusiastic in practice as they have been all year with the receivers and defensive backs especially going after each other.

"Our guys really like each other and feel pretty good about how they are playing right now," Nutt said.

As the varsity was running sprints, some of the young players and reserves scrimmaged for about 15 minutes.

Nutt praised oft-injured redshirt freshman linebacker Michael Robinson, true freshman cornerback John Jackson and Washington for their efforts in the scrimmage.

Several coaches left before that scrimmage. They were headed to catch flights to do some recruiting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the open week. Arkansas players will work Thursday and then take off Friday and Saturday before coming back for what Nutt calls an extended practice on Sunday. "We are going to get the Friday and Saturday out of them," Nutt said.

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