FAYETTEVILLE – The game plan is in and the stage has been set for the Arkansas football team’s Southeastern Conference battle with the Mississippi State Bulldogs slated for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Thursday’s final practice for that contest finished off Arkansas’ game plan and has the Razorbacks ready to face the Bulldogs in the hostile environment which is Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss.
“We’re ready for a game,” Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said. “We’ve got two weeks of practice under our belt and I did like the way we practiced all week long. The players have done a nice job of working hard, concentrating on the little things to get better and I anticipate that we’ll go out and play well.”
The Razorbacks are coming off a bye week that couldn’t have come at a better time as several of their players were injured. The weekend off from competition has allowed Arkansas to get several players back in the lineup especially on the defensive front which was especially hit hard.
“[The bye week] has helped us a lot,” Petrino said. “Adrian Davis is back and he has looked pretty good. Damario Ambrose is back so that helps a lot, two guys off the edge. Grant Cook has practiced all week and we’ll probably play both guards.”
While Mississippi State’s record may be just 3-7 on the year, Petrino and the rest of the Arkansas coaching staff knows that the Razorbacks must play at the highest levels if it hopes to leave Starkville with a victory on Saturday.
“I think that it’s going to be a hard fought game,” Petrino said. “I think that we need to do a good job of executing on offense and score points early. Defensively, we need to be real physical and run full speed to the ball and tackle well.”
One question that has surrounded Arkansas’ camp over the past two weeks has been who the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks will be. Starter Casey Dick was injured in Arkansas’ last game allowing brother Nathan Dick to play. Both players have been practicing all week and the decision on who will start has not been made by the Razorback coaches.
“I’m sure you are all wondering about the quarterbacks,” Petrino said. “I haven’t decided who will be the starter just yet, I kind of have it in my mind who it will be, but we’ll go through meetings tomorrow and continue to work to get ready for the game before we announce it.”
Petrino did go on to say that the decision would be made on Friday and that the starter would have ample time to prepare for Saturday.
“I think that if I was a quarterback I would want to know the day before the game,” Petrino said. “I always have a meeting with the quarterbacks on Friday where we go over the game plan and the signals. I spend a lot of time with them on Friday so I’ll tell them then.”
When asked if it might be possible for both players to see time on the field, Petrino did not rule that out.
“There is a possibility that we might play them both,” Petrino said. “They both practiced well this week and I like what I’ve seen from each one at times. I can see a scenario. I did that a lot at Louisville where I brought a guy in and he played the second quarter all year long and it worked pretty good that year.”
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