Per NCAA rules, the Hogs spent the first two days of spring practice in shorts and helmets. On Thursday, the Razorbacks got their first opportunity of the spring to put the full gear on and pop the pads.
“We put the pads on today and got a lot of things done,” Nutt said. “We got a little bit of taste of it. Some things on both sides of the ball looked good at times. We had a good couple of runs when we got all 11 blocked the right way. We didn’t have enough of those plays. There were a couple long balls that were caught today. Defensively, when they fast, the play hard and everybody takes care of their job, we look good at times. Still we are making too many mistakes and that is why we are having spring practice.”
A trio of defenders and a reserve wide receiver caught Nutt’s eye on Thursday. Sophomore linebacker Freddie Fairchild, senior defensive end Anthony Brown and senior strong safety Randy Kelly helped the Razorback defense cause persistent trouble in the offensive backfield. Sophomore wide receiver John Aaron Rees took advantage of extra snaps after junior wideout Marcus Monk was limited with a slightly pulled groin. Nutt said Monk was limited on Thursday and will be evaluated day to day before returning to all of spring drills.
“Randy Kelly hit a blitz full speed,” Nutt said. “He timed it up just right – boom, sack. Anthony Brown in chasing the ball has tremendous lateral quickness. He reacts to the run and then goes and tracks down the quarterback. John Aaron Rees made a couple of good plays. He got a few more reps today because (Marcus) Monk and a couple of these guys were sore. Freddie Fairchild has put on 15 pounds of muscle, but he hasn’t lost an ounce of foot speed. We love him.”
Nutt also lauded the efforts of two additional wide receivers on Thursday. Juniors Cedric Logan and Chris Baker made a positive move in the span of 24 hours.
“Cedric Logan and Chris Baker have made tremendous strides in the last day, from yesterday to today,” Nutt said. “They made strides in catching the ball, being physical, more effort in their route running, and a lot more crispness by wanting to create separation. One thing about our corners, they are in your face the moment you walk out there. They are very physical and that is good.”