ORLANDO, Fla. – The Arkansas Razorbacks held their first practice in Orlando in preparation for the Capital One Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers. The Hogs participated in drills and focused on Wisconsin for slightly less then two hours in full pads in chilly Orlando weather.
“We had to get a little bit of Christmas out of them, a little bit of rust but it was good,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “It was a little wet today, a little cold but our guys were very enthused and did a good job of getting back on the game plan.”
Peyton Hillis, one of the last Razorbacks to arrive in Orlando after experiencing travel delays because of inclement weather, attended practice and participated on a limited basis. His status is still questionable when the Razorbacks face Wisconsin in less then one week.
“He’s still limping around a little bit but it was good to see him out here,” Nutt said. “You just don’t know (if he will play in the bowl game) unless he gets better then he was today I don’t see how he can play. There’s hope. It’s better then it was last week. We’ll see.”
After giving the players a few days off to visit with family during the holiday season, Nutt and the Razorbacks have reunited in Orlando and are on track where they left off in preparing for the Badgers in a physical match up.
“Today was back to a grind like a regular Tuesday practice,” Nutt said. “(The players) understand, they have been in enough routines to know we are playing a physical team (in Wisconsin), one of the best teams in the Big 10. They won a lot of games this year and you have to be ready to go. We came out here with a purpose today and we’ll come back tomorrow in full pads.”
The physical nature of the match up against Wisconsin is something the Razorbacks were prepared for. The chilly Orlando weather that accompanied Tuesday’s practice was a surprise to many including Nutt.
“We were hoping for (warm weather),” Nutt said. “We didn’t get that today. We are glad to be here and you can’t control the weather. We try to teach our guys not worry about things they can’t control and the weather is one of them. I’m a little shocked (about the weather); I thought the sun would be out.”
Before Tuesday’s practice, the Razorbacks spent time with local children and their families at Disney Day for Kids at the Disney’s Sports Complex. Activities included games, lunch, face painting and photo opportunities.