Arkansas Begins Practice With Two Hour Session
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks dodged an afternoon shower to begin preparation for the 2003 season, spending two-hours on the practice field before wrapping up with conditioning drills.
“It was good to be back out here today with the players,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “We had a good first day. The guys were excited to get back to work. I was really impressed with our freshmen too. We have a good group of young players.”
The Razorbacks began the day on the outdoor practice fields but were forced to move indoors to the Willard and Pat Walker Indoor Pavilion when a heavy thundershower passed through the area. The Hogs concluded the final hour of practice and conditioning drills inside.
After the first day of practice Nutt was pleased with the overall effort from the Razorbacks, but said the coaching staff would have to wait until seeing noticeable progress.
“It’s hard the first day to see progress at an individual position. The upperclassmen really stood out. Jeb Huckeba, Arrion Dixon, Clarke Moore, Caleb Miller and all the guys who stayed through spring showed us something.
“A lot of those guys are being thrown into the fire for the first time and guys are nervous and it can be tough the first few days.”
Nutt also commented on the return of Marvin Jackson to the practice field after suffering a season-ending knee injury during August practice.
“Marvin was unbelievable. He was breaking on passes and making interceptions with great quickness. It was great to see him back on the field.”
The Razorbacks continue workouts with a 3 p.m. practice on Tuesday. The Hogs open the 2003 season Sept. 7 against Tulsa in Fayetteville.
QUOTING HEAD COACH HOUSTON NUTT
On the return of fullback Mark Pierce:
“He’s in really good shape, it was surprising. He made every play today. No one really knew what he has done physically or how much he ran. He did well. We didn’t know when he was coming back, but he got back last night.”
On which freshmen stood out in the first practice:
“Chris Baker and Willie Hordge and most of the offensive linemen had a good day. (Offensive linemen) Robert Felton, Matt Gilbow and Nate Garner are a good looking group. They are ahead of the game for freshmen.”
On returning offensive lineman Shawn Andrews:
“He came back in better shape than I thought. He made just about every sprint. He’s lost some weight and that is going to really help him. We’re going to monitor him during two-a-days, but I know for a fact he has lost weight since January.”
On the quarterbacks:
“They were a little rusty, but they had great attitude and really took charge in the huddle. The intangibles were all there. Matt (Jones) did a good job throwing the ball early in practice and Ryan (Sorahan) looked sharp at times.”
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