Receivers Still Waiting To Break Out

The Morning News/Razorback Central
Posted Sep 23, 2007


FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick has received some criticism for his inconsistent play this season. He doesn’t deserve all the blame.

The Razorbacks’ receivers, without senior standout Marcus Monk for three games now, haven’t shown the ability to get open. In the rare instances that they have, drops have surfaced at times.

And only making matters worse, Arkansas coach Houston Nutt confirmed Sunday that true freshman Crosby Tuck had fractured his right elbow and would miss the remainder of the season.

“It doesn’t help at all when Crosby goes down and breaks an arm,” Nutt said. “There wasn’t much separation there (from the receivers). (Casey) had some good passes. He hit D.J. Williams, he hit Peyton (Hillis). But he’s got to do better.”

No receiver caught more than one pass in Arkansas’ 42-29 loss to then No. 21 Kentucky. Trying to find new options, Arkansas freely subbed in a handful of backups.

But no one could form a consistent connection with Dick, who completed 13-of-25 passes for 157 yards and two interceptions.

“That’s all we have, the guys that were out there,” Nutt said. “Chris Baker, London Crawford, Robert (Johnson) goes down with some kind of toe (injury), Reggie Fish and Marques Wade and (Rod Coleman) need to get some more work.”

Nutt forgot two other receivers. Lucas Miller, who dropped two passes Saturday, and Carlton Salters, each saw significant playing time.



Two Yards Too Far

Leading 13-7 early in the second quarter, Nutt made a decision that brought the first of several loud boos from the Reynolds Razorback Stadium crowd. Arkansas faced fourth-and-9 at the Kentucky 35, three plays after getting the ball on a Kentucky fumble.

True freshman Alex Tejada has more than enough leg to get a 53-yard field goal over the crossbar of the goal posts. But Nutt didn’t want to chance a miss.

“The way things were going, I didn’t want to give (Kentucky) that field position,” Nutt said. “I have a lot of confidence in Alex, but I thought at that particular time, I really wanted to pin them down deep in their own territory.

“I know that from the 32- or 33-yard-line there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s three (points). No doubt.”

Arkansas ended up not pinning Kentucky deep in its own territory, as Jeremy Davis’ punt went into the end zone for a touchback.



Up In The Booth

Those fans watching Saturday’s game on ESPN2 were probably a little surprised to see former running backs coach Danny Nutt in the Arkansas coaching booth. One camera shot showed Nutt standing behind offensive coordinator David Lee, with a headset around his ears.

Houston Nutt told reporters Sunday his brother wasn’t coaching in any way.

“I talked to (Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike) Slive,” Nutt said. “It’s all right. He was just watching the game.”

Nutt said his brother was “just listening” on a headset in the coaches’ booth. Danny Nutt resigned from his coaching job before this season because of recurring symptoms relating to his bleeding brain stem.



Changes Coming On D?

Nutt said he couldn’t commit one way or another when asked whether some defensive changes were in order after allowing 435 total yards Saturday.

“We’ll look at the film real good, and then on Tuesday we’ll decide,” Nutt said. “Most of the guys that are out there are playing hard. We’ve got to correct some things with our alignment, foolish penalties.

“That to me is the biggest thing, and we have to do better on the run. A couple of those run-stoppers were misaligned, in the wrong gaps, with the wrong techniques.”



Blocking Out Negatives

Nutt said he’d stress to his team the importance of ignoring outside influences.

“Losing will create a lot of things that are negative,” Nutt said. “It always has, always will. So now, how tough are we? This is where you grow up to be a man. Everyone has to pull together and get inside that circle.

“We can’t have friendly fire, can’t be reading newspapers and listening. You have to get really locked in now to your teammates and your coaches and go to work.”


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