FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas officially reached the halfway point of the spring, on Tuesday, as the Razorbacks worked for more than two hours in full pads. With the completion of Tuesday’s practice, the Hogs have now utilized seven of the 15 allotted spring practices.
Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt encouraged his team to stay focused on the task at hand while also drawing some inspiration from another Southeastern Conference team. Although the Florida Gators won the NCAA basketball title on Monday night, Nutt says championships of all kinds evoke the same kind of satisfaction and motivation.
“We had another good work day,” Nutt said. “This is the halfway point. Now it is time to come on and reach down. When you watch Florida win the championship (last night), there is nothing like watching the team and the coaches go out to get the trophy. Are you doing everything you can to win the trophy? It is about the way you take the field. Are you listening? Are you getting better? Are you doing everything you can to help your team win?”
The Hogs have made it a priority this spring to find additional wide receivers to compliment Marcus Monk and Cedric Washington. Sophomore Reggie Fish has made a move in that direction this week. Fish blocked a punt in practice on Monday and spent Tuesday snaring passes at the wide receiver position.
“Reggie made some catches today,” Nutt said. “That is what we need. We need somebody everyday to make a play and keep the chains moving and somebody on the other side to get a ball and stop the other team from getting a first down. That is what you are looking for every single day. We have a tremendous role for Reggie. He has to keep coming. He is so quick off the line of scrimmage. Whether it be trying to block a punt or trying to get off the line of scrimmage on a defensive back.”
Nutt also had praise for the Razorback linemen on both sides of the ball. The Hogs’ offensive front is adjusting well to some new assignments while the defensive line continues to be difficult to block.
“I thought the offensive line and the defensive line stood out,” Nutt said. “The offensive line is getting better with their steps. The tackles and ends, especially, are stepping together. We put in a couple of other running plays today. They did a good job. Our tight ends have done a much better job of footwork and they keep coming with their pass catching.
“If you look at Jamaal Anderson, Antwain Robinson, Keith Jackson, Marcus Harrison and that group is very quick. They play with a lot of passion. We have to keep that going.”
Nutt also strongly encouraged fans to make plans to attend the Red-White Game set for April 15 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The game is set to kick off at 1 p.m. and will be televised on a tape-delayed basis by ESPNU. Nutt says he wants the national television audience to get a full taste of what Razorback football has to offer.
“From this day forward, I really want to emphasize our spring game,” Nutt said. “I really want our fans to come. I want 30,000 minimum. I’ll take 40,000. It will be a great day for EAS (RazorFest). It will be a great day for the kids, former players and our players. I want television (ESPNU) to see our fans there. It is going to be great.”
Arkansas will take Wednesday off before returning to the practice field on Thursday and Friday. The Razorbacks are expected to stage their second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday.