FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas football team, coming off a 49-14 Homecoming victory over Vanderbilt, opens preparations this week to visit South Carolina on Saturday. The Razorbacks, ranked 17th in the latest AP poll, take a 6-2 (3-2, SEC) record to the 18th-ranked Gamecocks (6-2, 4-2, SEC). Head coach Bobby Petrino is off to his best start at UA, which has its best mark after eight games since 2006.
Coach Petrino met the media Monday in the Raymond Miller Room at the Broyles Center, commenting on the sound performance by UA against the Commodores."What we really talked about all week long was our effort and our focus," Coach Petrino said. "I really felt like we did that throughout the night. We got off to a slow start defensively, but we really came back and shut them down. Offensively, our execution was pretty good for most of the night."Arkansas comes off a strong offensive outing vs. Vanderbilt, including a record-setting performance by standout quarterback Ryan Mallett. The Texarkana, Ark., native broke his own mark with a 409-yard passing game against the Commodores. His previous best was 408 yards vs. Georgia in 2009.Coach Petrino noted that maintaining a balanced offensive attack allows for continued overall success."Our ability to run the ball helps us throw it," Coach Petrino said. "Ryan did a nice job mixing the ball around. We had a lot of guys step up and make plays and catch balls. I was happy with the way we played. It was a good win for us."UA is averaging 37.0 points, 404.0 passing yards and 499.5 yards of total offense per game on the road in 2010. Coach Petrino explained the importance of executing well inside Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C."We have a big challenge coming up against South Carolina," Coach Petrino said. "They are a very, very good football team. They have one of the best receivers in the league and one of the best running backs in the league, production wise. We have a great challenge defensively. They are very good on the front four. We have to do a good job blocking in the run game and blocking in the pass game. It should be a good football game. We are looking forward to it."The UA-USC game will air on ESPN at 6 p.m. (CT). For more information on Arkansas football, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.