FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas football returned to the indoor practice field at Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion on Friday for the first time since leaving for Atlanta for the SEC Championship game. Friday’s practice gave many of the freshmen and newcomers a chance to get some quality reps under their belts.
“This is what we have been missing,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “The last couple of years we have been missing (preparing for a bowl game). The excitement of teaching, starting back over, fundamentals, getting our young guys a lot of work. We’ll get close to 20 practices in, just like a spring if not better. This is awesome getting some of our guys who have bumps and bruises, some of older guys, getting them a break and we really zeroed in on tonight all of our redshirt freshmen, all of the younger guys who haven’t gotten very many snaps. This is really good.”
Many of those who stood out at Friday’s practice have yet to see the field wearing the Cardinal and White. With the experience they are getting during these bowl preparations, they will be ready to go when their number is called.
“DeMarcus Love, Ray Dominguez, Adrian Davis looked very good tonight, Jerrell Norton, John West (all looked very good tonight),” Nutt said. “Carlton Salters, Rashaad Johnson, they also had a very good night. It’s refreshing (to have them out there). They are so hungry and excited. They have been scout team all year long and now they are getting coached. They had good individual time tonight. It’s just a great time.”
In addition to the underclassmen that shined at tonight practice, Nutt has also been put in the spotlight. Just this week he was named the SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and the SEC Coaches. He was also named the AFCA Region 2 Coach of the Year and one of five finalists for the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award.
“It starts with the players and the coaches,” Nutt said of his recent accolades. “It’s always good to be recognized by your peers when you are playing in the toughest conference in America. Atlanta is a hard game to get to if you look around at some of the teams with big names. It’s a hard game to get to and it takes a great coaching staff and a great chemistry of players that really work well together with a great attitude.”
In other Razorback news, Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist Darren McFadden will be appearing on ESPN’s Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith on Friday night. The show is scheduled to air at 9:30 p.m. CST and will last for one hour.