With only three days remaining until the 2005 season opener against Missouri State the Hogs held a 90-minute practice in shorts and shells on Wednesday afternoon. Arkansas continued to work on different goal line situations and two-minute drills as the team looks forward to Sept. 3.
“We had a very good day today,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “We took the pads off and just had shells on. We had a lot of assignments. We worked goal line and two-minute. It’s getting closer and everyone is excited. We’re trying to get the little things that can be a distraction out of the way. You want to be 100 percent focused and well rested.”
Before practice the Razorbacks were treated to inspiring words by middle-weight champion of the world Jermaine Taylor.
“We appreciate Jermaine Taylor coming to speak to our team,” Nutt said. “I thought he really came from the heart with exactly the same thing we’ve been saying since Jan. 14. It’s about an attitude and a work ethic and doing it every single day. That’s how he became a champion. We have a lot of respect for him.”
Preparing for Missouri State has been challenging for Nutt and his staff because of the high number of newcomers and transfers that have joined the Bears since the spring.
“It makes it difficult, because you don’t know who he’s gotten in since the spring or since two-a-days,” Nutt said. “It’s an ongoing thing. For example, Matt Gilbow just got enrolled, so you don’t know how many more of those guys are around. You go with their philosophy and their scheme and prepare the best you can.”
Nutt also listed several outstanding true freshmen he believes will see playing time on Saturday, including Freddie Fairchild, Tyrell Graham, Reggie Fish, Felix Jones, Darren McFadden and Cord Gray.
Junior tight end Wes Murphy’s injured ankle has improved, but he will not be ready for action by game time. Sophomore Mason Templeton and redshirt freshman Marc Winston have stepped up to help fill the position.
“He’s (Murphy) getting better, but he just jogged around the field today,” Nutt said. “He’s starting to get some flexibility in that ankle, but we don’t expect him to play. The first two tight end set will be Mason Templeton and Marc Winston. We’re not afraid to put those guys in and then Lance Thompson will be the next guy.”
Arkansas will open the 2005 season against Missouri State on Sept. 3, at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.