Thursday Grid Update, 9/9

Arkansas finishes up its on-campus work Thursday for its Saturday game with Louisiana Monroe, but will continue to prep mentally after leaving Fayetteville on Friday morning.

University of Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino isn't really a "the hay's in the barn" type of guy.

In fact, he has always made it clear that when on-field practices on done, the finish line still isn't that close.

"We are done as far as the practices go, but have got a long way to go as far as our mental work, our walk-throughs and our meetings," Petrino said, "but we are healthy and we are in good shape. We feel like we need to do a good job from here to the game to really get mentally and emotionally ready to play and go down and take care of business like we need to in Little Rock."

The Razorbacks (1-0) will host Louisiana-Monroe – who will be opening its season – inside Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium on Saturday night at 6 p.m.

The UA squad will leave campus at 9 a.m. on Friday morning, have meetings and then a walk-through before seeing a movie and resting up on Friday night.

Petrino hopes to see a better effort than in last week's 44-3 win over Tennessee Tech as his team takes a step up in competition against the Warhawks.

The Razorbacks have tried to make it Perfect Thursday.

"It's never perfect, but you try to work at it and we will continue to do that," Petrino said. "We have got a ways to go to get perfect. Our energy is okay, our focus has to improve."

He wants to see a quicker start from his offense, which scored all of its points in the second and third quarters last week.

An improved run game would help that.

"There are a lot of things we have to improve with our technique on offense," Petrino said, "using our technique on every play. We need to come off the ball better. We are hesitating at times coming off the ball. If we get all five guys plus the tight end coming off together, then we will be much more effective running the football."

There were two fumbles early on from the running backs and thus ball security has been a focus in practice.

"We've been working hard at it, real hard at it," Petrino said. "We have been working hard at the entire offense, working on carrying the ball correctly, making sure we are keeping the ball high and tight, make sure when we get in traffic we get the other hand over it.

"Quarterback wise it is all about making good decisions and not having tipped passes," Petrino added. "That is the key, that we don't have any tipped passes."

Arkansas had practiced outside in the rain the past two days, but ironically was inside for most of Thursday's workout even with the Sun out.

"Just to mix it up," Petrino said. "We like to change the atmosphere every once in awhile. Sometimes it changes your approach and your attitude. It just mixes it up and then we came out for special teams."

Petrino was asked about the status of defensive tackle Patrick Jones and linebacker Bret Harris – who have apparently not practice this week after missing last week's game.

"I don't have any update on them," Petrino said. "Do I ever tell you that? I am going to answer about the guys that practice. Ok? Next question."

He did acknowledge that fullback Van Stumon and offensive lineman Anthony Oden – who were both suspended for the first game – would travel and dress for game two.

Praciticing for Louisiana-Monroe this week has been a challenge because of a new head coach in Todd Berry.

The defense – which is a 3-3-5 one - at least has some familiarity.

"It has been difficult," Petrino said. "The defense – they have the same defensive coordinator so we have been working everything off of last year. We've got all their video from a year ago. I am sure they will do something different that we haven't seen from a year ago, but they basically like to load the blocks, like to blitz a lot and they will leave their guys out there and play a lot of man coverage.

"We have got to do a good job of running the ball against it, protecting real well," Petrino added.

Arkansas wide receives coach Chris Klenakis coached with Berry at UNLV.

"We took a couple of days during the summer where he (Klenakis) spent time with our defense watching their offense at UNLV, with the formations," Petrino said. "It's hard because you don't watch the same guys doing it. We have made tapes of their skill guys from a year ago and we have tried to balance the two in our preparation."


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