FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Despite freezing rain and gusting winds, Arkansas football held its last practice in Fayetteville on Thursday before heading to Atlanta Friday morning. Practice lasted for slightly more then one hour at the Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion.
“Thank goodness for our indoor facility,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “There is nothing like it. We really appreciate this and the Walker Family. This is awesome. Plus we are going to play in a dome so we got some good work in today. It was so good to have a full week (of practice) compared to a short week.”
Practicing in the Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion has happened sporadically through out the week. Moving drills inside is a great help in preparing some of the younger players for Saturday’s game at The Georgia Dome.
“(The biggest difference) is definitely the noise,” Nutt said. “That is the only thing we have to get accustomed to in a hurry but we have had the music on. We tried to get accustomed to it the best way we could.”
In preparing for the biggest game of the season, Nutt, his staff and his players are approaching the SEC Championship game like they would any other game.
“We are keeping everything the same,” Nutt said. “Same approach, same week, just like the next game. It’s been good for us this year so we are just taking the theme ‘the next game’ and this is the next game. We just want to play our best game of the year.”
Many comparisons have been made to the defenses of LSU and Florida. Many of the differences and similarities are taken into account when preparing the offensive scheme.
“LSU’s inside players may be a little bit stronger, bigger guys but Florida’s ends and secondary, (they have) great speed and great athleticism,” Nutt said. “They can fly, move around and (the defense) has been the backbone of their team through out the season.”
Combating Florida’s powerful defense will be Arkansas’ ferocious offensive line. The Razorbacks have been showered with awards this season and two more were delivered today for two offensive linemen. Tony Ugoh was named a second-team All-American by rivals.com and Jonathan Luigs was the only sophomore named as a Rimington Trophy Finalist, presented to the nation’s top center.
“(Tony Ugoh) has been outstanding,” Nutt said. “I’m real proud of him. This year he has really turned it on. He has had a great year. (Jonathan Luigs being named a Rimington Trophy Finalist) is an awesome honor. When you have backs like we have, somebody is doing something up front. This offensive line has played great all year. Jonathan is very deserving and I know he appreciates his teammates, the guys that are going into battle with him. It takes the entire offensive line and they have had a good year.”