FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas football wrapped up preparations for the Auburn game with an hour practice in shorts and shells on the practice fields just south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Thursday.
“We had a very good mental day today,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “The guys came to practice. We have had a good preparation week. Now it’s really close, 48 hours prior to (kickoff). I’m really proud of the way we went about business this week. I think they realize that everyone has a job to do and you have to do it well. When you are in the SEC, you have to do it well. You have to be at your best.”
Robert Johnson did not participate in practice today in order to rest his sore right ankle. His availability for Saturday night is not in question, it’s just a matter of how long he can play for.
“(Robert Johnson) is a little sore,” Nutt said. “He will definitely be dressed out and ready to go. How long he can (play) Saturday night, we don’t know. He should be good to go for the first quarter of play.”
Replacing Robert Johnson in the flanker rotation will be difficult but Nutt has seen good things out of the backups that may make the decision a bit easier.
“(The backup flankers) have a done a good job,” Nutt said. “Reggie Fish has been consistent. Carlton Salters has really made a push. We have confidence in him. They just have to play. It’s their time.”
While Auburn’s only road contest was an upset win over then No. 4 Florida, Nutt’s primary concern is with his players and their preparations.
“(Auburn) has done a great job on the road,” Nutt said. “I’m using all my time and energy on our football team, how we execute, how we play. We are getting these guys ready to play for 60 minutes. That’s all my mind is on.”
In addition to preparing for the Tigers as a whole, the Razorbacks also have to prepare for the possibility of seeing two different quarterbacks Saturday night.
“We have had good preparation,” Nutt said. “We know what Brandon Cox is about. We have played against him. He has done a great job (against us) in the last two games. He’s executed well, he’s throwing the ball. He is using his backs well with screens. When Kodi (Burns) comes in, you know it’s those set plays, shotgun, underneath the center, option, hand the ball off. There’s no secret to it.”
After a sluggish week in preparing for Chattanooga, Nutt is much happier with the way his team has practiced this week.
“This time of year, it’s time to go, time to play,” Nutt said. “This week we had a much better intensity. The guys know we are back in the SEC. We weren’t going to accept anything less. These guys were so much better than last week.”
Log on to www.hogwired.com for continued coverage of Arkansas football.