Houston Nutt's early bird practice Tuesday morning finished offr Arkansas' allotted three workouts in shorts. The Hogs climbed out of bed for the 5:50 a.m. workout in Walker Pavilion.
All players were on time except for Vickiel Vaughn. The sophomore-to-be did roll in to the indoor facility a few minutes late after over sleeping, and paid the price afterwards with a series of up-and-down runs under the watchful eyes of secondary coach Bobby Allen.
Nutt put the Hogs through an early workout after a couple of players, Jason Peters and Brandon Holmes, missed the last of the early morning offseason workouts last week.
"We had scheduled 14 days of the spring, and had one remaining, so we decided to just bring them in early today and get the last of the three shorts workouts done," Nutt said. "So it was one, two, three, you are done in shorts."
The Hogs could not practice Tuesday afternoon because that's the day labs are scheduled each week.
They will don full pads for the remaining 12 days of spring drills, starting with Wednesday. They'll also work in full pads Thursday before taking a week off for spring break.
Matt Jones did not run any plays at quarterback Tuesday morning after telling coaches that his shoulder was extra sore at the outset of the workout.
"That was fine, we just sent him to wide receiver," Nutt said. "That's all we needed to hear. He was at wideout the entire morning. We understand. Somedays, we'll decide how much he gets at quarterback, but that was his call this morning, and it just gave him a little more work at wideout."
Jones dazzled, whipping his man on a fade for a TD, and also catching a nice slant after a physical release to the inside.
"He looked like a big-time wideout this morning," Nutt said. "That's what we want to be able to do with him at wideout ... get him the ball in the open field and let him make people miss him. We know he can do that at quarterback, but this is another way to get Matt the ball in the open field."
Bobby Allen is working several players at free safety since Ken Hamlin skipped his senior year to enter the NFL draft. Vaughn is one of them. He's joined there by Jimarr Gallon, Lorenizo Robinson and Tony Bua. Both Robinson and Bua will have to miss the full contact drills because of offseason shoulder surgery.
"Tony ... I'm not sure that's where he'll play ... but it's good for him to get the looks there this spring so he understands the position," Allen said. "It's just another way to let him get a look at what everyone's doing.
"As far as who will end up there, it's way too early to say. We are just getting started. All the contact has yet to be seen. I want to see how they react when the bullets begin to fly."
Clifton Ealy liked what he saw of his tight ends again Tuesday, their third productive practice. Jared Hicks and Jason Peters have impressed so far.
"We had two drops," Ealy said. "Jared had one go through his hands, and Jason had one that was low and behind him ... but he should have caught it. It's been a good start. Now, we'll add contact, and see how they catch it with the pads on. It's a different deal and we need to see if they can maintain their focus with pads.
"Jason has had a good start to spring drills. But, the main part lies ahead. He's still a little heavy. He says he's at 305, but he's at 310, from what I've seen when he's on the scales. He's moving good, but he would be a lot better if we could get him down to 300. The main thing is that we want to see him focus on both the field and off the field. He has to keep at it in the class room, too."
Nutt said Cedric Cobbs has displayed the quickness that he remembered as a freshman phenom.
"Cedric lost that 20 pounds and it's brought back some speed and quickness," Nutt said. "He was at 240. He didn't look it, but you didn't see some quickness that you see now. He tells me he feels like a new person. It's made him feel better about himself as a player and person. I like what I see. He is really moving well."
De'Arrius Howard missed a good part of the workout after turning an ankle just after completing the stretching portion of the morning. He returned after getting his ankle taped.
Cedric Cobbs does an interview after the Tuesday morning workout.
Mike Markuson huddles the offensive line after Tuesday's early bird workout.
The sideline, usually full of fans and media, was empty at the start of Tuesday's workout. There was no one else from the media present at the start of the workout at 5:50 a.m. And, there were no representatives of the school's sports information staff present, either.
Photos by Clay Henry