FAYETTEVILLE – With an oppressive heat bearing down on the University of Arkansas campus the Razorback football team moved their Thursday afternoon practice indoors to the Walker Pavilion, their final day of hitting before Saturday’s season opener with Western Illinois at 6 p.m.
After stretching, the Razorbacks got right into practice as it worked on putting the finishing touches to its game plan for the Leathernecks. The Razorbacks hit every facet of the game from offense to defense to special teams before wrapping up the session.
“Thursday we come out for about an hour and 15 minutes,” Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. “It was sharp, guys are moving around they’re fired up to play a game and we just have to make sure that we focus from here on out and continue to get ready for the game. We have meetings coming up, we have walk throughs to do, so it’s important that we get better from today until Saturday night at 6 p.m.”
Petrino reflected on what he believed was a very productive week of preparation for the opening game of the 2008 season for the Razorbacks.
“I thought that we had a good week of preparation,” Petrino said. “It’s really our first time experiencing how the work week goes. Tuesday we worked hard, Wednesday we came out and worked hard, two good two-hour practices. Tried to be physical, tried to understand we’re still going to hit as the year goes along.”
Petrino also spoke about both his offense and defense and the strides they have made since the first day of practice.
“We want to execute,” Petrino said of the offense. “Control the line of scrimmage, I think that is what we want to do first, our offensive front needs to control the line of scrimmage. We need to be able to both run the ball and throw the ball down the field.
“There were a couple of weeks there where (the defense) didn’t think things were going real well but as you watch the video you can see it was one guy here and one guy there and some of that was youth. I think that our defensive coaches did a nice job of trimming back what we were asking them to do, making sure that we run full speed to the ball, tackle first and foremost and they’ve made great strides in the last week.”
When asked about making a statement in his first game as the Razorbacks’ head coach, Petrino was quick to point out that it was not his intention on Saturday.
“No I don’t think we’re looking to make a statement, Petrino said. “What we want to try and do is get better as the game goes on so that we learn as the game is going on. That we do a good job on the sidelines. I want to play better in the second quarter than we do in the first, play better in the second half than we do in the first half and really just worry about ourselves. That we execute well, do what we’re coached to do and really play with good effort. If we can those things I’ll be happy with the outcome.
The Razorbacks have a short walk through scheduled for Friday before they lace up the cleats and don the pads for the season opener at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30 against Western Illinois. For more information regarding Razorback football or University of Arkansas athletics please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.