FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas used its last practice in Fayetteville before Friday’s trip to Vanderbilt to reinforce game plans during a mental day of practice. Lasting slightly over one hour, practice was held at the practice fields just south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“Thursday has always been a mental day,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “It’s a great day of preparation. Back-to-back days have been very good. Now we have to take it on the road. We have to do it someone else’s backyard. It takes 100 percent, total concentration to win a ball game on the road in the SEC.”
With Vanderbilt being Arkansas’s first road match Nutt his confident in his travel squad and hopes the good work done in Fayetteville will continue in Nashville. Felix Jones, missing practices earlier in the week, participated in a full practice on Thursday.
“I think he is going to be good to go on Saturday,” Nutt said. “Felix, Darren (McFadden), Peyton (Hillis), Michael Smith (are all good to go). Felix had a full day of practice today.”
Nutt has been impressed by Smith’s performance in practice and looks to see more out of the young tailback everyday.
“(Michael Smith) has gotten a few more carries this week,” Nutt said. “He has improved ever since he has been on the field. He’s improved everyday. He just keeps going up in our book and doing a great job.”
The kicking crew, still raising some questions for Nutt, has put in a solid effort throughout the week but who will be participating in the game will be determined on game day. Jeremy Davis, Stephen Arnold, Jacob Skinner and Brian Vavra will all be making the trip to Nashville.
“We are still keeping our eye on (the kickers),” Nutt said. “We keep working. They have got to keep their eye on the ball. Follow through; good plant foot, follow through. Kick it between the uprights.”
Darius Vinnett, still questionable for the Vanderbilt game, will also be traveling with the team this weekend. Vinnett has missed a majority of the fall with a knee injury and has yet to see any game action.
“We are going to travel Darius,” Nutt said. “He’s coming. He can’t play a full game by any means. We just don’t know. Dean (Weber) will let us know on that. If he does play it will be very limited but we just don’t know yet.
Wes Murphy, slated in as the starting tight end, will miss Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt. His grandfather passed away earlier in the week and Murphy will be attending his funeral this weekend. Mason Templeton and Andrew Davie will be sharing the duties at tight end.