The Wildcat - a formation that Darren McFadden rode all the way to the Heisman Trophy ceremony last season is now the WildHog and there is one less scholarship offensive lineman to block for it.
That was a couple of the news items out of the University of Arkansas' Tuesday football practice – their fourth workout of the preseason.
Razorback head coach Houston Nutt said the change in formation name was more of a reaction to the fans wishes than anything else.
"We gotten a lot of letters to (athletic director) Coach (Frank) Broyles to (offensive co-ordinator) David Lee to our players," Nutt said Tuesday night after a two-hour practice. "I talked to them and they don't have a problem with it.
"The signal for it is the same as the Wildcat and that's what is important to me," Nutt added. "I don't care what we call. We have a lot of names for it, I just want to make sure we have 11 on the field…The overall name is the Wild Hog."
In part because the Razorbacks are blessed with an abundance of offensive linemen, redshirt sophomore guard Colin Tucker has decided to leave the team.
"Colin Tucker decided to give up football today," Nutt said. "He is a good young man that's done everything we have asked him to do and we wish him the best. But he has decided to give up football."
Nutt added "everybody wants to play. He is going on his third year and is a redshirt sophomore and there is a lot of competition out there."
Ironically, the offensive line group was one praised by Nutt after the workout, which he said had a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
"Jonathan Luigs, Robert Felton, Nate Garner – they have been there and got great experience," Nutt said. "We have just got to keep bringing these other guys.
"I like what Jose Valdez is doing, I like what Mitch Petrus is doing," Nutt continued as he covered the entire first-string line. "That second line is coming – DeMarcus Love and Ray Dominguez, Mike Aguirre. And then that freshmen line behind that . We have done a good job of getting linemen in here."
That said, he praised the defense for its effort on Tuesday night.
"I thought our defense, I mean there are times you see glimpses of speed and you see glimpses of getting to the ball with a sense of urgency," Nutt said. "It's not every play and I know that is what Coach Herring and his staff want. But boy, they are going hard."
The workout ended on a high note with several plays made by both the offense and defense in late-game clock management situations.
"We threw and caught the ball well at times today," Nutt said. "Marcus Monk made a big catch in two minutes, Robert Johnson made a big catch in two minutes."
Versatile senior back Peyton Hillis also made several nice plays.
"Peyton had a good day and he has had a good camp," Nutt said. "The staff has done a really good job of keeping these guys in shape and what you like about Peyton is that he is not afraid to go over the middle and people bounce off of him. He is valuable and we have got to keep him on the field."
True freshman D.J. Williams, serving as Hillis' understudy and fullback and H-back, also drew praise from Nutt.
"D.J. Williams is going to play a role," Nutt said. "Special teams, backing up Peyton – there is no telling what all his role could evolve into. He is a special athlete."
Lee noted that his offense put in some stuff today and struggled at times.
"We have been up and down," Lee said. "I thought we probably looked better yesterday. Today was expected because it was an install of a lot of play action. When you go play-action pass in pass skeleton, linebackers aren't going to honor the run in play-action pass and that is kind of what it looked like.
"We also introduced all of our zone-blocking stuff and just like it did last spring, it looked like it did today," Lee added. "When you do that zone blocking, you have got to get it on film and get it coached on film. We have the best zone blocking line coach in America is Mike Markuson and we'll get that cleaned up."
Lee noted that Wednesday night's practice would see the offense put in its Red Zone attack.
"We are right on time right now," Lee said.
Lee also noted that he was working with starting quarterback Casey Dick on a fundamental flaw.
"He has a fundamental flaw of a long stride," Lee said. "We are trying to shortened that stride which will pull his ball down and quit getting it to sail over the lights and take off on him sometimes."
O o o
Sources indicated that junior college tailback transfer Brandon Barnett's paper work is here and he now just has to get approved by the University, which could come on Wednesday.
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