Stiffness and Rust Gone From Hughes' Game

SAN ANTONIO - Chicago running back Robert Hughes was moving around a step slow at the beginning of the East's second practice in preparation of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The Notre Dame recruit hit his knee on the field turf of Gustafson Stadium on Monday, and needed sometime to work out the soreness.

"I had to get the morning stiffness out of it and run around a little bit," Hughes said following practice on Tuesday.

Hughes, a Notre Dame recruit has been lining around with the first unit for most of the reps while practicing. The 5-foot-11, 228-pound back has looked good running in between the tackles, breaking tackles and making quick decisions. He is a very instinctive runner, and the Irish hope he chooses them over Illinois and Wisconsin.

"Two days in I think everything is going good," Hughes said. "I feel confident with everybody. I am starting to get used to how the line blocks. I am getting back into the rhythm of everything because our season ended early.

"I'm very versatile. I can do a mixture of different things. With the zone reads and everything, I am good with that."

Hughes has been one of the more energetic talkative players since arriving in San Antonio.

"Robert Hughes, I'll tell you what, first off just character in general," running backs coach Rob Ambrosino of Sparta, N.J. began his praise. "The kid is in the front of the line for everything, he wants to be here, he's focused on it. Just outstanding ability. I see him more as an inside-zone runner. He's a square shoulder, get up the field, run you over north-south kid. I'm enjoying coaching him."

Hughes volunteered to return punts as well. Monday he was out there, but Tuesday he didn't drop back.

"I was off to the side getting a sip of water, and I am seeing punt balls coming down on my head," he said. "Tomorrow I will get back at it and start catching them again." Top Stories