FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas football held a two-hour practice on Wednesday in preparation for Saturday’s 6 p.m. match-up against Utah State. Continuing with their new game plan, the Hogs worked out in shoulder pads, thigh pads and shorts for 20 five-minute periods on the practice fields just south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“We had another good today,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “We had some guys come out here and go to work. We really tried to put an emphasis on our third-down and goal-line packages today. The same thing with the defense. We put them through some different situations. We just want to keep getting better and correct mistakes that we made (on Saturday). Each day we are trying to polish it up. Tomorrow will be another great mental day. You look up and it’s Thursday again. The weeks are coming faster and faster and you have to be ready to go.”
Nutt and his staff, aware of how short the weeks are becoming, began correcting the mistakes that were made on Saturday in meetings on Sunday and in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. He once again stressed the importance of ball handling with his receiving corps and cutting back on the penalties.
“Ball handling first of all, the penalties, lining up correctly, those are things we can correct and we can control. That is so important. Just taking care of the ball, turnovers, lining up the correct way, don’t give them anything. Make them earn it, especially when it’s third down. Our defense made a great stop and it’s all for not when you line up off-sides.”
With recent changes made to their staff, Nutt was impressed with the job done by the offense in adjusting and going through game-like situations.
“(The offense) looked good (in the third-down and goal-line situations they were put in),” Nutt said. “They looked good. We have to keep our pad level down. For the most part we have been learning their defenses and did a good job.”
Wednesday’s practice marked the second for Mitch Mustain getting a majority of the snaps at quarterback and Robert Johnson learning the ropes as a receiver. Casey Dick, playing right behind Mustain, also took snaps at quarterback. Efforts from all three were solid as the new changes went into effect.
“The quarterbacks had a good day today,” Nutt said. “Mitch got most of the reps and Casey got the leftovers. It was good for the most part.”
In an effort to move on to the Utah State game, Nutt is emphasizing core skills and ideas that began in fall camp for his squad.
“I just want to play Razorback football,” Nutt said. “Razorback football is hard, very fast and very physical. I want to get some turnovers. I want us to take care of the ball. That is the attitude that I want and I think (the team) senses that.”