Hogs Wind Down Physical Work as Kickoff Nears
BY ANDRES FOCIL
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt started to lighten the practice load a little bit on Wednesday as the Razorbacks close in on Saturday night’s showdown with the No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers.
The Hogs practiced in shorts, thigh pads and shoulder pads for about 90 minutes focusing more on the mental aspects of the game as kickoff nears.
“We had a good mental day today focusing on a team that is well-coached and very quick,” Nutt said. “We want to be quick. The extra two days have really helped us. Being able to practice long on Saturday and Monday, I felt like we could come out in thigh pads and really still go full speed and get some work in.”
Nutt says that the Razorbacks will spend Thursday concentrating on special teams play. Last season, Arkansas allowed the Volunteers to rack up 35 points in the first quarter in large part due to turnovers and mistakes in the kicking game.
“We are going to work real hard tomorrow on the kicking game,” Nutt said. “We are going to work on getting that sound. If you remember last year that is where they really jumped on us quick. They won the kicking game in the first quarter that and turnovers. If you get behind the eight ball with a good team it is very difficult. It’s hard enough to win, but when you are going against a very good team you can’t give them any gifts.”
With the extra practice time, Nutt feels his squad has improved. The UA head coach acknowledges however that the true test will come Saturday night against one of the league’s most highly regarded teams.
“I liked their concentration and their attitude,” Nutt said. “It isn’t easy. It takes 11 people to make one play work. They came out with the right frame (of mind) and I think we are better. How much better we will just have to see. We are going against a real good defense. Everybody has to do their part.”
Arkansas will stage a light workout on Thursday before holding a walk-through on Friday afternoon. The Hogs and Vols will meet at 8:05 p.m. CT at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The first game in the Hogs’ new on-campus home will be televised by ESPN2.
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