FAYETTEVILLE – Just two days away from Arkansas’ showdown with ninth-ranked Alabama and the Razorback football finished its preparations for Saturday’s clash with a short workout in shoulder pads and shorts inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Thursday.
The Hogs hit every facet of the game plan in Thursday’s practice from offense and defense versus the scout teams to special teams and the two-minute offense. The session ended with head coach Bobby Petrino meeting with the team near midfield.
“We’re ready for a game,” Petrino said to the media following practice. “It’s been two weeks now and our guys are gets antsy to play. I think that we’ve had good practices. I think that we are ready physically. I think that mentally we are prepared; we understand the game plan and understand what they are going to try and do. We’ll have to adjust to the different looks they’ll give us. Every game you are going to have to deal with something new so we’ll have to make sure that we do a good job on the sideline adjusting to that. I think that our guys will be fired up. This is our first SEC game against a top 10 opponent, so it doesn’t take a whole lot to get fired up about that one, but I do feel like we are ready to play.”
Saturday’s game is Arkansas’ second at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium this fall and coach Petrino’s first impression with the Arkansas fans was certainly a positive one.
“The thing that I’m impressed with was in the first home game how everyone stayed here and kept cheering,” Petrino recalled. “That helped us win it in the fourth quarter.”
He also spoke about home field advantage and what the Razorbacks need to do in order to capitalize on that phenomenon.
“We have to make it a home field advantage by getting off to a good start,” Petrino said. “By making plays, pressuring the quarterback and hitting the quarterback so we can get the crowd into it and energize our players. We need to make it hard for them to execute at the line of scrimmage and make it hard for them to change plays. We have to take that responsibility as a team.”
Petrino was also quite animated when asked about the fact that Arkansas had yet to record a turnover this season.
“They are coming, I know they’re coming,” Petrino said with a smile. “We’re going to get the turnovers, we’ve got to, and the odds are in our favor. Hopefully it’s better than when I’m putting, I keep saying that it has to go in one of these times and it doesn’t. Turnovers are coming and like I said before, when they come, they come in bunches. I feel good about it. I feel good about the way we coached it and the way we concentrated on it and we know that they have to come our way sooner or later.
Saturday is the first time Petrino and Alabama’s Nick Saban have faced off as head coaches, but not the first time they have been on opposite sidelines. Petrino spoke about Saban and what he brings to the table.
“He’s a very good coach,” Petrino said. “He’s proven it every where he’s been. I’ve always followed him and he is up to date on the new schemes. Defensively they are as good scheme wise and technique wise as you can be. I know that he always take pride in what they do defensively. It is a great staff with good players and they started the year off with a big win against Clemson and now they have to come here. I’m excited to play them.”
The Razorbacks and Crimson Tide kick off at 11:30 a.m. at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. For more information regarding Razorback football or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.