FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Razorbacks had their last practice before the Ole Miss game on Thursday, lasting for an hour in the brisk Northwest Arkansas weather. Saturday’s match up against the Rebels is slated for 11:30 a.m.
“We spent a lot of time on special teams today,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “(Ole Miss’) special teams have really made a lot of plays for them. Their punt-block team is one of the best in our conference. They put their fastest guys on (the punt-block team) and they do a great job. They have blocked a lot of punts this year.”
In preparation for the Rebel’s special teams, the Nutt and the Razorbacks have brought the focus back to the basics.
“It’s very important that we know our assignments,” Nutt said. “We worked hard on that today. Overall, we had a good day.”
Approaching his sixth start of the season, Mitch Mustain (5-0) also had a solid week of practice and is showing signs of improvement in the eyes of the coaching staff. Nutt has nothing but confidence in his signal caller.
“I have a lot of confidence in (Mitch)”, Nutt said, “Otherwise, he wouldn’t be starting. It takes a special freshman to be able to start at this level. He’s doing a good job and he’s getting better each week. He had a good week of practice.”
Based on the amount of reps, Reggie Fish looks to be the newest Razorback to return punts. He also garners a solid amount of faith from the coaching staff in his abilities to gain yardage for the Cardinal and White.
“He has earned this (punt return responsibilities),” Nutt said. “He works really hard. This is his second year to work at it and he has really been consistent. We are going to give him an opportunity.”
Lately, awards have piled up for Nutt, his coaching staff and the Razorbacks. The same holds true for Ole Miss. Just today, both Sam Olajubutu and Ole Miss’ Patrick Willis were named two of the 10 Butkus Award semifinalists. The award is given annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
“Both (Olajubutu and Willis) are outstanding players,” Nutt said. “I know both teams rely on that guy. They are very sound tacklers, good players.”
Often referred to as the “heart and soul” of the Razorback defense, Olajubutu is recognized for his prowess on the field and his ability to lead off the field.
“I’m very proud of (Olajubutu),” Nutt said. “He has come a long way. He’s a good person and he’s an outstanding lineman. More than that, he’s a better person and a good leader for us.”