Back To Work

Two teams headed in opposite directions meet Saturday morning in Oxford. Houston Nutt will try once again to rally his troops, only halfway through a season, and face a formidable foe.


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No. 10 Arkansas comes to town with a high-powered offense that had a week off since a 38-14 win against then No. 15 Auburn.

Quarterback Tyler Wilson completed 18 consecutive passes in a 24 of 38 performance against Auburn. The week before in a 42-38 Razorback comeback win against then No. 14 Texas A&M, Wilson threw for 510 yards, an Arkansas single-game record.

Nutt said this quarterback does a lot of things well.

"I think we're facing the best quarterback in the SEC, Tyler Wilson," Nutt said. "I love his toughness. I love his accuracy. The ball is on the money away from the defender. An excellent quarterback that gets them in the right play. He's just been so consistent."

Nutt said there are some lingering effects from the 52-7 loss to Alabama.

"Yesterday we got back in the film room to try to get some soreness out," he said. "That was a very physical game (against Alabama). I was really proud of our guys, especially that first half. I thought we played extremely hard. They're an awfully good football team, y'all know that. They wore us down, especially in the second half."

Two key players are now out for the season after surgery Sunday.

"Wayne Dorsey and Marcus Temple we'll miss. They were outstanding captains, real leaders. They were both playing their best football. Boy, that hurts."

Nutt is looking for others to step up.

"Wesley Pendleton, Charles Sawyer, Damien Jackson, Frank Crawford, Senquez Golson have gotta step up and go to work for us," he said.

"On the defensive line we'll call on guys like Gerald Rivers, Jason Jones, Kentrell Lockett, C.J. Johnson. Then we'll see with Uriah Grant. We'll see how that goes. We may be able to move him back inside, or we may keep him outside. We're just trying to keep our best guys on the field and see what the best fit is."

Nutt agreed keeping his team together at this point can be challenging, but he believes they'll all stay together.


Uriah Grant
Chuck Rounsaville

"There've been a few bright spots where when we execute and play hard and play together, offense, defense, special teams, we look like a football team. We're playing a lot of young people and that gives you hope. There's always the next opportunity."

More Nutt Notes:

On dismissing Melvin Harris from the team: "We've really tried to help him for three years. He will continue to go to school and hopefully get his life in order. He will probably transfer to a I-AA school and finish it out. It's just sad. I know we've done everything we could to help him. I know that."

On Arkansas' offense: "They'll spread the field with three wides, four wides. But the thing that you can't go to sleep on is they'll hand that ball (off to backs). They'll mix it up with a draw or an inside zone or an outside zone. A screen. So you still have to be conscious. As good as their passing game is, you also have to be able to stop the run."

On Uriah Grant at defensive end for the first time: "He did a good job. He had three or four tackles. He's so strong. When you go back and watch the film, tremendous effort. Did a good job. Really tried to hold that edge for us. With a different style of game, now we've got to see what's best for us as a team."

On Carlos Thompson being a possibilty at DE: "He's put on some good weight. Again, he's still trying to get stronger. In the SEC trenches on the defensive line, it's a major, major task. You're going against big people. We know that Carlos is a tremendous athlete, and that's why we mentioned him (for DE). One of the best things he does is rush the passer. He's going to be a very good football player for us. Who knows? This could be the week we use him more."

On if there is a concern with tough times and a lack of leadership: "That's a good question. You always worry about that. One thing was with Wayne Dorsey and Marcus Temple, the locker room would always be right. It's so important to hang in there when things aren't going just right. You've gotta keep fighting and everybody doing their part and being positive with the right attitude."

On Evan Swindall: "He graded out good going against one of the best defenses in the country. There were times he didn't always get his block, but we didn't have any illegal procedures. The ball starts with him. Excellent snaps. For his first start this year, I was proud of him."

On perhaps moving Charles Sawyer back to corner: "Have not (made a decision). Still discussing it, talking about it. He's got four interceptions from that spot back there, and he's really comfortable there. We've gotta talk really hard on how many plays we think Nick Brassell can handle during the course of a game. And Senquez Golson. Really look hard at that. But we're still in the stages of discussion as to what's best."

On if he ever feels like nothing has gone right this season: "I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes saying that. ‘Can we have a perfect week?' It seems like there are some years where you feel you get going then you have things like Marcus Temple and Wayne Dorsey (injuries) happen. It just hurts. The only thing I know is roll up your sleeves, go to work. Take the guys you have, get them better and compete hard. I believe we'll have some guys step up."


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