FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –– The Arkansas football team entered its final week of the 2005 season on Monday afternoon with a 90-minute workout that was split between the practice fields south of the stadium and the Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion.
The Razorbacks practiced in shells for their showdown with third-ranked LSU at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., on Friday. The game will be broadcast nationally at 1:30 p.m. on CBS.
“We have a little different week because there is no off Monday in the practice schedule”, Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “We had to kind of wake them up a little bit to let them know this was a practice day today. But once we got things going the practice went pretty good.”
The Hogs will close their season on the road with one of the nation’s most talented teams. LSU enters the game with a 9-1 record and a bid to the SEC Championship game on the line.
“We are playing a great football team,” Nutt said. “They are exceptional in every aspect of the game with great speed, athleticism and depth. We have a big, big challenge, and we are going to have to be ready to go.”
However, back-to-back SEC wins have fueled the Hogs confidence heading into the final week of a tough 2005 season.
“The last two games have been excellent and we are beginning to see that confidence that we have been looking for,” Nutt said. “That is what winning does, and the only way to get it is to win. They have gotten that confidence the last two weeks, now it is time to step it up one last time against one of the best teams in the country.”
Senior captain Kyle Roper returned to practice on Monday after missing the Mississippi State game and most of the Ole Miss game with an injured knee. The one difference for the Hogs’ long-time center was a move to offensive guard.
Roper will make the move to left guard to better utilize his mobility with a knee injury that still isn’t quite 100 percent. Jonathan Luigs will start his second consecutive game at center and Jeremy Harrell will start at right guard.
“Kyle did well today at guard,” Nutt said. “He is not quite full speed, but he was much better than he has been, and it was good to see him out there. Anytime you have (Kyle) Roper out there it helps. He is an older guy that understands good-pad level and leadership.”
Nutt also commented on the outstanding play of defensive end Jamaal Anderson, who was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week on Monday by the conference office.
“Jamaal has improved every single day and you just love that,” Nutt said. “He has gained confidence and is really coming off the edge. He is playing physical and just keeps getting better.”
The Razorbacks will practice again on Tuesday and Wednesday before leaving for Baton Rouge on Thursday.