Arkansas solidifies lineup spots as Nutt points team toward Tulsa

Updated: August 27, 2003, 8:57 PM ET

LITTLE ROCK -- For the second straight season, Arkansas is the only idle team in the Southeastern Conference on college football's opening weekend.

Coach Houston Nutt wouldn't mind playing, but he enjoys channel surfing multiple games at a time.

"I'll be the number one flipper in America on Saturday," Nutt said Wednesday during the SEC coach's media teleconference. "I'll be watching them all. I've been known to watch two or three games at once, at least that's what my wife claims."

Even with new NCAA rules against back-to-back two-a-day practices that limited the chance for injuries, Arkansas' starters haven't taken part in too many full-contact drills lately. Nutt cites a lack of experienced depth for holding some of his first-teamers out of recent scrimmages.

Nutt understands that another week of preparation for the Sept. 6 season opener against Tulsa is frustrating for his players, who have grown weary of hitting each other.

"One part of me really wants to play," Nutt said. "In some ways I'm glad we're not playing. It gives us one more week to get ready.

"But I know as a former player how the players are feeling. They've seen some games on TV already. It's just the feeling that it's football season already and you want to get out there and play."

The only two major injuries during camp have been outside linebacker Jimarr Gallon's broken finger and nose guard Arrion Dixon's sprained knee. Gallon likely will miss the Tulsa game, while Dixon just returned to practice on Tuesday.

Nutt said the team would start focusing on Tulsa on Wednesday and that's when he expected his quarterbacks to start fine-tuning their efforts.

During preseason drills, returning starter Matt Jones and Ryan Sorahan have had a revamped playbook thrown at them by Nutt and new passing game coordinator Roy Wittke. At times, both quarterbacks have been inconsistent, but Nutt said there were reasons for that.

Jones, who threw for 1,592 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions last year, has been working at receiver to lessen the throwing load on his shoulder.

Now that the team has gone from preseason camp to preparing for an opponent, the quarterbacks will see less of the overall offensive package.

"Now we cut down a little bit of the game plan," Nutt said. "We've been throwing the whole cook book at them."

Last year, Arkansas stomped its first two non-conference opponents before stumbling to a 1-3 SEC record for the third straight season. The Razorbacks rebounded the past two seasons with six-game winning streaks, earning a share of the Western Division title last year and a berth in the conference championship game.

The Razorbacks fell to 9-5 and are unranked this year after finishing the season with losses to Georgia in the title game and Minnesota in the Music City Bowl.

After Tulsa, Arkansas travels to face fifth-ranked Texas on Sept. 13 and then plays two-time defending Sun Belt Conference champion North Texas in Little Rock on Sept. 20. The Razorbacks' first three conference opponents -- Alabama, Auburn and Florida -- were a combined 27-12 last year.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index