One senior in particular will be critical in Arkansas' hopes to make it to a seventh consecutive bowl game.
"I am glad that he didn't leave," said Nutt of his big quarterback Matt Jones. "I thought this summer that he showed more leadership in basketball. Stan Heath said that he stepped up for his young team last year."
"Matt Jones is a difference maker. The best way to describe Matt is this: all he wants to do is please. His demeanor is different and that's what makes him so good," said Nutt. "He is our only returning offensive starter and we are going to look to him."
With holes all over the Arkansas depth chart, Nutt said that he was most concerned about his completely new secondary.
"When you lose eight secondary members that is what you think about going to bed at night," he said.
Those eight players got a chance to show their stuff this summer when the team showed up, at Jones' request, for voluntary workouts.
Nutt said the offense vs. defense workouts were unprecedented. But, Arkansas needs the extra preparations. The Hog secondary was not the only group that is green. Arkansas returns only four starters out of 22.
"We have never had an offense and defense to go up against one another without coaches being there," said Nutt. He hopes his team's eagerness to prepare for the 2004 season will help them in their brutal schedule.
"This is one of the most challenging years in terms of Arkansas' schedule," he said. The Hogs drop Kentucky and add SEC power Georgia. Arkansas also plays defending national champions LSU and national power Texas.
"The schedule hits you between the eyes," he said. "We do not play Texas first; we play them second. We have to get ready for the first game."
But the New Mexico State contest does not have the bite that the rivalry with Texas does.
"Our fans live on Texas. That game is always talked about," he said.
The Razorbacks also have the traditional lineup of SEC West foes as well as their annual contest with South Carolina.