The Razorbacks shed their pads for Friday’s practice as a needed rest reward and to prepare to open the 2005 season on Sept. 3. Arkansas worked out for 90 minutes in the scorching sun and continued to have good concentration.
“We had a good mental day again today and we had the guys take off the pads as a reward for the last two days,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “Usually when you take off the pads it means to slow down, but we really tried to emphasize keeping the same speed and playing fast. We just weren’t hitting today and we tried to give their muscles a break so they could get the soreness out.”
The depth chart for the Missouri State game was released on Friday, revealing sophomore Peyton Hillis as the starting tailback, while senior De’Arrius Howard is second. UA is not lacking talent at the position with Felix Jones and Darren McFadden following, respectively.
“Peyton Hillis will go out there first, but it depends because there are a couple formations where you could have De’Arrius Howard and Peyton in there at the same time or Dedrick Poole and Peyton,” Nutt said. “We still have a little flexibility. I think De’Arrius missing that week hurt him a little, but he’s fighting back strong. We’re going to need all of them.
“It’s a good problem to have (depth at the tailback position),” Nutt said. “We just want to keep them healthy and we’ve had years where two or three of them go down. We have different roles for them and they have good attitudes. That’s how you win.”
The depth chart also listed junior Michael Coe as the punt returner and Hillis as the kick returner and second at punt returning duties.
“We put Michael Coe at punt returner, because we just felt like Peyton was doing so much,” Nutt said. “He’s a kick returner, a punt returner, a tight end, an h-back, full back and tailback. We’ll start off with Michael Coe, because it’s a much easier substitution. He’s a done a great job with it. We feel good about those two.”
On Saturday the Hogs will hold a completely closed walk-through as they simulate game-day situations.
“Tomorrow is exactly the way we’ll line up to stretch, how we take the field, the way we warm up for pre-game,” Nutt said. “We’ll tell everyone exactly where they are going to sit during the game. All the little things you don’t think about. Then we’ll have a game like situation, except we’re not tackling. It will be first and ten, second and ten, offense on and off, what you do after a safety and blocked PATs.