FAYETTEVILLE – With a couple of extra days of preparation in its pockets, the Arkansas football team was back on the practice field on Tuesday evening continuing to prepare for its Saturday afternoon clash with ninth-ranked Alabama at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The Razorbacks were able to begin instituting their game plan last Thursday afternoon after learning that their game with Texas was postponed due to Hurricane Ike and the extra days of practice and film should give Arkansas a better understanding of what the Crimson Tide does defensively.
“(The extra days of practice) hopefully lets us understand what they do,” Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said. “They do a lot on defense so I think that the extra days of practice will really help us. If we can understand what they are doing maybe that can help us get some big plays when they bring the pressure.”
One of the things that the Razorbacks can expect is a heavy blitz from the Crimson Tide and a strong defense against the run. Alabama is one of the top teams in the nation against the run and while it usually starts with the front seven, the Crimson Tide gives Arkansas a different look.
“You really have to go against all 11 because they blitz,” Petrino said. “They like to bring a bunch of different pressures. They aren’t going to line up in a base look very often. They bring the safeties down and have them help on the run a lot and do a lot of different movement. Really, it comes down to understanding what they are doing and why they are doing it and taking advantage of what they are doing.”
“They definitely have down and distance groups that like to come out and blitz a lot,” Petrino continued. “They try to confuse you at times and bring different blitzes. That is something that we need to see and understand and get to the right play that we want to run.”
After taking three of the past four days off from the practice field, Arkansas brought great intensity to today’s session which pleased the Razorbacks’ first-year coordinator.
“We came out a little different today since we got a little bit of extra practice in last Thursday and Sunday night,” Petrino said. “They understood the game plan a little bit better and the guys flew around pretty good today.”
A potential key for the Razorbacks could be Alabama native London Crawford who has big play ability and has done well against his home state team.
“I think that London had a real good spring and a good fall,” Petrino said. “He got hurt a little bit in the first game so it would be good to see him come out, make some plays, be explosive and make something happen for us.”
The Razorbacks take on the Crimson Tide on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. For more information regarding Razorback football or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.