FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Southeastern Conference’s Western Division Champions began preparations for the Capital One Bowl on Wednesday evening as Arkansas practiced in full pads for two hours inside the Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion.
“We had one of our best practices,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “I guess they are happy because finals are over. I think that is a big thing. Exams are gone now we can just eat and sleep football for the next few days.”
Wednesday’s practiced included a little bit of everything as the Hogs’ worked on fundamentals, did some first-team scrimmage work and began to look at what they will see against No. 6 Wisconsin on New Year’s Day.
“It (Wednesday’s practice) was better than I anticipated,” Nutt said. “It was probably one of our better practices of the year. I think we got closer tonight. Sometimes it takes things happening to really come together. Right now I am real excited about our team, especially our seniors because they have done it all year.”
Coach Nutt also announced the departure of freshman wide receiver Damian Williams who decided to transfer out of the program.
Junior fullback Peyton Hillis returned to practice on Wednesday on a limited basis. He continues to nurse a deep right thigh bruise. Hillis participated in all of the individual work before sitting out during scrimmage action.
“He was a little stiff tonight, but at least he was out here in full pads,” Nutt said. “He made it through the first six or seven periods of individual. I was proud of how he really tired to practice tonight.”
The loss of Williams will benefit senior Cedric Washington and junior Robert Johnson. Both jumped up the depth chart at wide receiver and should play a significant role in the Razorbacks’ offense come bowl time.
Arkansas will return to the practice field on Thursday morning and is scheduled to practice straight through to next Thursday before breaking for Christmas.