"Arkansas is a physical football team, despite their record," said Rebel Coach David Cutcliffe after a 2-hour practice. "We have to stay physical ourselves so we are practicing with a physical mindset this week. We will back off tomorrow, but the first two days of this week we felt we needed a lot of contact work."
Before Cutcliffe got into more practice analysis, he announced the dismissal of redshirt freshman TB Dawan Woods for disciplinary reasons. Dawan is the second player in two weeks to be dismissed from the team. Last week, sophomore S Danny Bell was dismissed for disciplinary reasons. Ironically, both were star prep players from the state of Florida.
Cut said the speed of practice was excellent, but the execution was not.
"We had a lot of intesnity and focus. Some big hits were delivered today, but our timing was off in the passing game. We missed a lot of open receivers and dropped some catachable balls today. We have to get that ironed out in the next two days if we are to have a chance Saturday," he explained. "Most of the time a lack of execution is from a lack of focus, but our kids were tuned in today. They just weren't getting it done on a consistent basis. We had two or three interceptions today on misreads and just didn't have it in some areas."
Cutcliffe was asked if last year's results of holding Hog QB Matt Jones to 30 yards on 10 carries could be duplicated.
"Arkansas has changed some things they are doing with Matt," said Cut. "That was certainly a fine defensive effort against him last year. I'd love that again, but you don't expect that against a player of his caliber. Certainly one of our goals is to contain him and slow him down, but he has matured as a quarterback, his passing is much better than it was a year ago and he's got some weapons around him."
DT Daniel Booth said the Rebs' gameplan revolves around Jones, but you can't forget the rest of their offense.
"Matt Jones is a great player, but he's not a one-man team. We have to focus on stopping their entire rushing package. They have a very athletic offensive front, good backs and some excellent receivers, including a freshman who I think is about 6-6 or 6-7 and can really go get the ball," Booth noted. "It's kind of a catch 22. If you don't put a lot of attention on Jones, he will get you. If you do put a lot of attention on Jones, they can get you in other areas. We will have to play a complete game and stay focused on stopping the running game."
TB Vashon Pearson (stomach ailment) missed practice today. He should return tomorrow. Vashon missed most of last week with a death in his family and now this. Here's hoping for a speedy return.
Backup OG Tony Bonds has been in a yellow jersey the past week or so nursing a sore shoulder. He was not in yellow today and went through full contact work, as did OTs Tre' Stallings and Bobby Harris, who have played the last two games with gimpy ankles. Bobby is almost 100% now, but Tre' is still struggling some with his, despite the fact he has not missed much, if any, practice reps. Tough kids.
DE Jayme Mitchell, DE Corey Mills and DT Andrew Wicker are definitely out for the Arkansas game. Wicker was on the practice field today running for the first time since he had his knee scoped about 10 days ago, but he will not play against the Hogs.
The Rebs practiced with the Arkansas fight song blaring and a country song called "Hog Wild" providing simulated crowd noise.
S B. Brown and CB Trumaine McBride picked off QB Robert Lane aerials today in practice. Lane overthrew Bill Flowers on a post pattern on Brown's interception and B. was playing a deep safety coverage. On McBride's pick, he jumped a receiver on a crossing route, leaving his man and made the catch going in the opposite direction of the receiver (Mario Hill).
RS freshman Brandon Jenkins has been getting most of the reps at number one left end in place of Jayme Mitchell up until today. But in practice today, junior Corvelli Haynes split time with Jenkins. Corvelli has been playing backup behind RE Cory Robinson. Dedrick Clark and Viciente DeLoach are also in the rotation at the two DE slots. Dedrick can also play both sides.
It was apparent that both TB Jamal Pittman and WR Larry Kendrick were getting more reps and more attention at practice today. Kendrick had several nice catches during the workout and Pittman got plenty of carries.
Tuesday Practice Report
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