Washington Provides Lift to Razorbacks? Passing Game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –– Arkansas practiced for 90 minutes in shells on Wednesday afternoon inside the Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion as the Razorbacks prepare for Saturday’s SEC showdown with Mississippi State.

The Razorbacks and Bulldogs are scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. MSU enters the game with a 2-7 overall record and a 0-6 mark in conference play.

“We had a good practice today,” Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. “We got Casey Dick back on the practice field and most of our walking wounded are also tying to get back out there.”

One of the exceptions was center Kyle Roper who left Saturday’s win at Ole Miss, and has not been able to practice on his injured knee all week.

The Razorbacks have taken the emotion and excitement from their 28-17 win over the Rebels to the practice field this week. The results have been positive as Arkansas focuses on Mississippi State’s tough defense and talented running back Jerious Norwood.

Norwood comes into the game averaging 93.4 yards per game on the ground, which ranks fourth in the SEC and 38th nationally.

“Everybody was very intense out there today,” Nutt said. “They remember that feeling we had in Oxford and there is nothing like winning. We are trying to have great preparation getting ready for a team (Mississippi State) that is a lot like us.

“Their defense is very strong and quick, and they have a tailback that is very explosive. We are going to have to do a good job of containing him. That is what the emphasis of today’s practice was.”

Among the walking wounded that returned to practice on Wednesday was quarterback Casey Dick, who missed Tuesday’s workout with flu-like symptoms.

“Casey looked pretty close to full speed today,” Nutt said. “He will be okay.”

The solid play of wide receiver Cedric Washington over the past two weeks has helped to open up the Razorbacks’ passing game.

“He (Washington) has really done a good job,” Nutt said. “He has worked hard. His route running and creating separation have been his biggest improvements. I think he is excited that we have done more in the passing game the last couple of weeks. He feels like the ball is coming his way.”

Arkansas will wrap up the practice week on Thursday with a light practice before busing to Little Rock Friday morning.