FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas football went through its final tune-up for Utah State on Thursday afternoon with an hour workout in shells on the grass practice fields south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“We worked special teams and substitutions today,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “All week long we emphasized not beating ourselves and taking care of the football.”
Execution was the focus on the offensive side of the football again on Thursday. The Hogs worked to eliminate mental mistakes and limit turnovers to increase production.
“Offensively, it is about executing the play that was called, taking care of the ball and putting the ball in the end zone.” Nutt said.
Nutt has also been impressed with the focus of true freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain during practice this week. Mustain will make his first career start on Saturday night against Utah State.
“He did good (this week),” Nutt said. “He is very focused, and I feel like he is ready to go. Casey (Dick) also got some reps and Robert (Johnson) looked good at wide receiver.”
Johnson’s knowledge of the offense and athletic ability has Hog coaches expecting him to contribute this weekend against the Aggies.
“I think he can help us in the run and pass game both,” Nutt said. “There are some things he can do, and he looked good doing them this week.”
Anthony Brown, who moved to defensive end last season and started six games there in 2005, has made the move back to wide receiver. That move also elevated freshman defensive end Malcolm Sheppard to second string behind Antwain Robinson on the right side.
“Malcolm Sheppard has really taken some strides (at defensive end) and we are going to use Anthony Brown on a lot of special teams,” Nutt said. “If we can stay healthy we would like to keep Anthony Brown at wide receiver.”