FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorbacks held their final practice on Thursday afternoon before they open Southeastern Conference play against Vanderbilt on Saturday. Arkansas had a good overall 90-minute work out that ended with a strong two-minute drill. The Hogs used most of their time to concentrate on the kicking game.
“We’re working extremely hard on the kicking game,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “Last week we were proud of our punt return and we’re really trying to build on that. Our punt team only went out there one time, which was great. We want to keep that coverage going.
“We’re hoping our kickers have a better night, hopefully kicking that ball out of the end zone or with a lot of hang time to give our coverage guys a chance to pin them down there inside the 20,” Nutt said. “We also worked on our field goal unit and blocking. We’re trying to work on all those situations and get it right.”
Nutt announced the starting defensive tackles for the weekend. Sophomore Marcus Harrison and junior Keith Jackson earned the first team slots, while true freshman Marcus Shavers and redshirt freshman Michael Tate were assigned to the second team.
“We’re taking the redshirt off Marcus Shavers,” Nutt said. “The time is right now. It’s easy (to decide) when he practices as hard as he does. I think he was trying a little too hard the first week and a half. He was second team then and he never fell too far, because his effort and intensity was awesome. He just kept working and working. We just feel he deserves this opportunity along with Michael Tate.”
Junior defensive tackle Jeremy Harrell is continuing to recover from a deep thigh bruise, but will dress out and be ready to go for the Vanderbilt game. Junior tight end Wes Murphy is still not full speed and Nutt is hoping he is better by Saturday. Junior receiver Chris Baker will have a MRI on his knee and not play.
Kick-off time for the Arkansas-Vanderbilt game is set for 6 p.m. on Sept. 10 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.