FAYETTEVILLE – The warm front that moved into the Fayetteville area brought 70-degree temperatures and sunny skies as the Arkansas football team finalized its plans to face #19 Tulsa on Saturday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Hitting the fundamentals quickly, it didn’t take long for the Arkansas coaching staff to move on to the game plan for Saturday as the offense and defense split to work on their individual plans.
“It was a typical Thursday practice,” Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. “I like the way that we came out. The guys came out with good focus and good energy.”
The Razorbacks have made strides on both sides of the ball according to Petrino and he outlined some of the things his team has been concentrating on over the past several days.
“The defense has been working real hard all week on the tempo of their offense,” Petrino said. “Not huddling, getting the signals in, getting the line and recognizing the formation and motion and playing assignment football. What we have to do defensively is play with great speed, everybody on the same page, playing very physical. Offensively we have been concentrating on our execution. All 11 guys doing their job on every play. I think that our passing game has improved, we’ve worked a lot on the timing of it and I’m excited for the game to be here.”
Saturday’s game is homecoming at Arkansas and typically that week can bring many distractions on campus as alumni come back to visit and the student body gets into a week of celebration.
“[Homecoming] has been great focus for us,” Petrino said. “We understand that [Tulsa] is a very good football team and certainly we have a lot of pride in our football team and our players have a lot of personal pride. It’s about sending our seniors out with a win. It’s the last time they get to play in this stadium so everybody has been working really hard to send them out with a win.”
Tulsa brings a new wrinkle to the field that Arkansas has not played against this season and that is a no huddle offense which forces the defense to make quick decisions both during and between plays but Petrino feels good about the way his team has responded to what the Golden Hurricane is expected to bring. He also explained how Arkansas attempted to simulate what Tulsa might do.
“The way we did [the no huddle] was have the O-line go directly to the line and then we had two groups of quarterbacks, receivers and running backs so one group was getting the play while the other was running it. Then they would run up there and the defense would have to get a line based on where they were on the field. Sometimes it looked a little chaotic, sometimes you don’t get to coach as much on the field as normal, but we really worked hard on getting extra video time so we’re coaching off the video. I think that the guys really understand the game plan, really understand what we want to do and today the defense was much better.”
The Razorbacks and Golden Hurricane kick off at 1 p.m. at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. For more information regarding Razorback football or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.