Tuesday Grid Update, 11/6

Arkansas had quite a few players on the sidelines Tuesday as practices moved inside. The Hogs play at Tennessee this week.

The physcial nature of November was evident on Tuesday as Arkansas began heavy preparations for Tennessee. Because of darkness, the Hogs finished the workout inside Walker Pavilion.

Marcus Monk (calf bruise), Kevin Woods (shoulder), Robert Johnson (ankle) and Jose Valdez (ankle) were not able to practice. All could return to play against Tennessee, according to head coach Houston Nutt.

"We had a good day," he said. "We came out ready to practice. We got on the plan for Tennessee. We went through the whole gamut -- offense, defense and special teams."

Nutt said attitude was excellent. He said, "There's nothing like winning. We've emphasized to our players that preparation is the key."

Nutt said the Hogs know they are going into a hostile environment, a stadium with nearly 110,000 fans.

"We know what we are facing and it's against a team fighting to go to Atlanta," Nutt said. "They are like us last year. They are in that same position, plus they remember the score from last year (in an Arkansas victory).

"The key will be to keep the same attitude (in practice) we've had the last few weeks. We have to keep playing with no turnovers. We also know that Tennessee is undefeated at home. They've really been good at home and very good in the first quarter. We have to do something about that."

Concerning injuries, Nutt said the Hogs moved Ray Dominguez, helping at left guard in recent weeks, back to left tackle. Dominguez took the snaps of Valdez on Tuesday.

"Jose is much better today than he was Sunday and yesterday," Nutt said. "His ankle had some swelling on Sunday, but has really gone down. We hope to get some work out of him Wednesday and Thursday. That's the plan with those (injured) players (mentioned), to get some work out of them Wednesday and Thursday and rest them on Friday and have them for the game.

"Woods will try to go on Saturday. He'll give us as much as he has. We'll have Rashaad Johnson ready there again. We'll also have Dallas Washington ready there (at free safety), too."

Nutt said the Vols have been very good of late.

"We know they have a great, 6-4 quarterback in Erik Ainge," he said. "He's very accurate. We know David Cutcliffe. We know him. We know he is going to try to run the ball and be very physical and also have a great passing game. We will have to be ready for a very physical game."

David Lee, offensive coordinator, had to field a variety of questions about last week's solid performance against South Carolina. He said it was time to move on.

"We have to get on to Tennessee," he said. "We have to focus on the Vols. I know what we are going to see. I played football at Vanderbilt so I've been in that stadium as more than anyone around here and I know what we are going to see Saturday. I've talked to my buddies this week and they tell me Tennessee is going to be geeked up and ready for us. That's what we expect."

Lee said he did not show his offense tape of this past week's Tennessee game against Louisiana-Monroe. Instead, they watched the Georgia tape to focus on the physical nature of the way Tennessee played that day.

"We know that's what we are going to see Saturday," he said. "They have been great in the first quarter this year, 71-0 in that quarter. It's going to be a great challenge for us. There's been a lot of talk (among the media) about (the South Carolina) game. I hope we are not eating that cheese. We have to move on."

The key, Lee said, will be to again eliminate turnovers.

"That's what it will come down to," he said. "We have to go out, execute and not put the ball on the ground and help Tennessee. I think all games are won like that, with gifts. We can't give any gifts."

Lee did answer some of the questions about the South Carolina victory, focusing on the way Peyton Hillis played at fullback.

"You look at the last few weeks and Peyton Hillis is our glue, the glue," he said. "My hat is off to him. He's gave us a passing attack when we lost Marcus Monk. He's made some big catches and leads us with 34. Our quarterbacks have thrown it up for him and have confidence in him.

"When we get Peyton involved early, he's blocked better. He is a joy to coach. He's gotten better and better and has been sensational."

Lee said he put two plays from the South Carolina game on a tape and showed them to the team in a group setting on Sunday.

"The first one was the long touchdown run by Felix and I wanted our guys to see the block that Peyton made," Lee said. "You can see Danny Nutt, a guy our players really love, standing in the box he's been given. At first, Danny is (winding his arm to speed up Felix to the end zone), then he saw Peyton blow up the defensive back. And, he pointed back at Peyton. He was pointing at that block. Peyton got two on that play and then got up and tried to catch Felix. I wanted our guys to see that."

The other play was the double reverse pass for the touchdown. Lee said he wanted the team to see the way Darren McFadden carried out his fake after handing the ball to Jones to start the play.

"There were two defenders who went with Darren, a defensive back and an outside linebacker," Lee said. "It was a big part of the play, and it was an excellent fake by Darren."

Hillis laughed when he was told that Lee called him "the glue" to the offense.

"He's called me a few things before," Hillis laughed, "but I've never heard that word used before. Most of the time, it's been something else.

"That's nice to hear. But I need to focus on what I do to help this team win, keep a good mindset and let the Lord take care of the rest. That's my focus right now."

That means playing a supporting role to McFadden and Jones.

"Everyone would like to (be in their role), but that's not my role," he said. "My place is to block, catch a few passes and do anything else I'm asked to help my team win. I'm having fun.

"It is fun to get a block to spring one of those guys. They make it fun. They are going to tell you about your block and tell (the media). Those guys are superstars. They get a lot of attention. You'd think if a player got that much attention, they might be jerks or something like that. They are just everyday guys. They have fun with us and make us feel good. I love playing with them."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories