FAYETTEVILLE – At last the first week of the 2008 college football season has arrived and the Arkansas Razorbacks prepared for its season opener with Western Illinois with a shoulder pads and helmet practice on the fields behind Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The Razorbacks practiced for an hour-and-a-half on Monday with a later than normal start as the coaches gave their players time to adjust to the first day of classes.
On the field the Razorbacks went through drills early before getting to the meat of the practice which included game planning for Saturday’s season opener. The squad on the field switched things up on Monday as the offensive players wore red practice jerseys while the defense donned the white. Up until Monday it had been the other way around.
After practice the media asked head coach Bobby Petrino about the depth chart which was released on Monday. The first question the media had was how long it took to sort out the chart for the Western Illinois game.
“We had a good meeting last night,” Petrino said. “We were in there from about six to eight o’clock with all phases, going through, evaluating special teams, rating all the special teams, so it was probably a couple of hours.”
Petrino continued by explaining that the process in ongoing and that he feels confident that his upperclassmen will lead the way throughout the season.
“Every day we tell our players you get an opportunity to get better or get worse,” Petrino said. You have an opportunity to move up the depth chart or have somebody move by you. It’s an ongoing evaluation and it will be as the year goes on.
“There’s a lot (of freshmen on the depth chart),” Petrino discussed. “They’ve had a good three weeks of practice. Certainly we’ll have a lot to learn in understanding the speed of the game and how fast it’s going to go. We’ve got good leadership up front on both sides of the ball and we’re going to have to rely on them to lead the way for us.
Petrino also mentioned what he told his freshmen class when he recruited them last year.
“When we signed them, we told everybody, from signing day on to prepare mentally and physically,” Petrino said. “To prepare like you are going to play next fall. After 10, 14 days of practice we’ll decide if you are physically and mentally ready to play and if we have the need. In that case, we’ll play you and if not we’ll redshirt you.”
The Razorbacks are back on the field Tuesday for a late afternoon practice as it continues to prepare for the season opener on Aug. 30. For more information regarding Razorback football or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.