FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With temperatures dropping into the mid-60s Tuesday afternoon, Arkansas football implemented the Vanderbilt game plan into action in a practice that last just under two-hours on the practice fields just south of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
“Today was a good learning day,” head coach Houston Nutt said. “We put in the Vanderbilt game plan. Tuesday is always a very long day. We try to make it very thorough, hitting every phase from kicking, defense, offense. We are trying to eliminate mistakes. We had five turnovers in the first game. The second game we had one. We want no turnovers.”
After Vanderbilt nearly upset Alabama in Tuscaloosa this past weekend, Nutt has been stressing the fundamentals of good football and what it is going to take to come away with an SEC win on the road.
“We are just trying play fast and when you play fast it means you know what you are doing. That’s key in the SEC. You better play fast. You are playing good football teams. (Vanderbilt) plays very well together. They play hard. Our team realizes that, they know that and they understand that. We are looking forward to it.”
This week will also be spent fixing mistakes and adjusting after the Utah State game. High on Nutt’s priority list is the kicking game.
“I know (Stephen Arnold’s confidence) is getting better,” Nutt said. “Until he gets one in the game, I don’t know. Jeremy (Davis) is kicking very well right now too. That’s good. (Stephen Arnold) knew on Sunday that we would be pushing him this week. That’s what we have talked about (how important kick can be in this game). It could be decided by one point, three points. Every point is so valuable, so precious. Everybody has got to do their job.”
Also raising questions with the Vanderbilt game plan are the starting linemen. With Freddie Fairchild out for the season after tearing his ACL against Utah State, Nutt and defensive coordinator Reggie Herring will be making decisions that affect the defensive scheme.
“I like the way the freshmen are stepping up,” Nutt said. “They are accepting it. They are all ears right now. That’s they way they have to be. Adrian Davis was in 30 plays on Saturday and that was great. Wendel Davis played about half of that. They know (they are going to get on the field soon).”
Darius Vinnett made a limited return to the practice field on Tuesday after taking time off to rehabilitate a knee injury. His return to the game field is still unknown but his presence was encouraging to Nutt.
“We have got Darius (Vinnett) moving around,” Nutt said. “He’s back pedaling, running, jogging, trying to get ready.”