"This is why you come here, to play in these type of games," McGee said after Tuesday's full padded practice in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
McGee, the Arkansas offensive coordinator, was referencing Saturday's 2:30 p.m. date with the defending national champion Crimson Tide. He said all the trappings are there with CBS picking up the game. Players could see the Goodyear blimp hovering over the south end of the campus.
"This is the environment you dream about," McGee said. "We are in the top 10, they are No. 1. It's going to be a great atmosphere in the Razorback Nation. It's what you dream about. I know our players came here because they thought they might play in a game like that. It's why we came here as coaches."
"A good many of our players remember playing as freshman against Texas when they were very good," McGee said. "They were a physically more mature team and they killed us. And we've played against the Floridas and the Alabamas when they were highly rated or No. 1. Those games help us. We've been there before.
"Looking at this game coming up and the atmosphere, I think our players are going to have a lot of fun. They are excited."
But there is business to be conducted before the kickoff.
"There are going to be extra interviews and extra demands on our time this week because of the nature of this game," McGee said. "We have to make sure we do all of the things we've done the past few weeks and make sure we take care of the preparation. We have to still do the things we do to prepare to play the game.
"Today was really good. The attitude was there. The energy was there. Was it perfect, no. It was like a Tuesday where you are putting in a new scheme. There were some mistakes that you have on a Tuesday. But it was a good focus. It was a good practice. Like I said, the attitude was great."
McGee knows what the Razorbacks face in the Alabama defense.
"They look good, they are well coached," McGee said. "They are arguably the best defensive coaches that are out there. They are really well coached. They tackle well. They run a complex scheme."
Later McGee came back to that point when someone asked about Alabama's pressure packages to get after the quarterback.
"They are really, really well coached," he said. "That's the thing about Alabama. They have good players. They do a good job of recruiting. But they are really well coached. Again, you are talking about a very good team.
"They have one of the best defensive tackles in the country. They have one of the best safeties in the country. But we have one of the best quarterbacks in the country and we can't wait for Saturday."
Arkansas coaches -- Bobby Petrino and McGee -- mentioned last week that part of spring drills and at least one week of fall camp was devoted to Georgia preparations. Did the Hogs also spend time in practice before the season on Alabama?
"No, we didn't run things with Alabama in mind," McGee said. "But you do spend time in the summer preparing for yur opponents. You do look at anything that is going on in the game as far as defensive structure. You try to learn as much as you can in the offseason about what is going on in the game. We do that each summer. You look at different teams and try to learn their coaching philosophies and add to yours. We do that as a staff. Alabama is one of the best, so we studied them.
"All coaches in this game spend a lot of time in the summer studying the first four teams they play, if they are doing their job the right way."
What do the Hogs have to do to beat Alabama?
"First, you have to take care of the football," McGee said. "Then, you have to accept the challenge. It's going to be a really good environment. Like I said, it's what you dream about."
One of the big questions remains, can the Hogs run the ball effectively? They struggled at times in the first three weeks. Is that a concern with Alabama coming to town? They didn't run the ball well when Georgia was making a comeback in the fourth quarter.
"That's always a concern when that happens," McGee said. "We didn't run it as efficient as we want.
"But for some to say it's on the offensive line, that's not the way we look at it. When you break it down, to run the ball is an 11-man operation. It starts with the quarterback. He has to hit the mesh point just right. The running back has to hit the mesh point right and has to hit his tracks just perfect.
"They the offensive line has to read the front right, hit their blocks just right and sustain them. Then it's on the backs to follow those blocks, read them and hit their tracks right again.
"All of that has to be just right. We didn't do that in the first three games. We didn't get it all the way we wanted and we are working to correct that."
Offensive tackle DeMarcus Love didn't sound concerned. First, he noted the Hogs "are a passing team." He also said the running game will come around.
"I expect the run game to be there," he said. "One of the reasons is because I know the backs we have. We saw some things in the video that we have to clean up against the scheme we played. We didn't get it all right. We will as the season goes along.
"I don't worry about whether we can run it or not because I know it's going to come. We are a passing team. But we can also run the ball. You can do both. We can get things cleaned up in the run game.
"Against Georgia, we didn't quite pick up their scheme and our technique wasn't what it needs to be. We are going to keep working to get it just right. We will run the football. We are going to keep working to get it blocked up just right.
"We do need a good run game, but we are a passing team. What we want is a run game so that when we do get that lead, you can run out the clock. We want to be able to kill the clock when we are in the situation we were in last week. That's what we have to improve."
What does Love think about playing top-ranked Alabama?
"The number isn't what I think about," he said. "It's just a number. Everyone gets a number, but I don't think about it. I think about the team, the players and the assignments. That's what I focus on and I know they are very good.
"But they are a team and you have to go out and play the game. They have to play the game. The number doesn't mean anything when you get out there. It's a challenge to play a good team. But we have confidence we can play with them. We think we can play with anybody on any day.
"It's going to be an interesting day. It's going to be exciting because of the way it's going to be in our place. It's going to be a great test against a great defense. They have talented players, but so do we. We have good players and we have a very good quarterback and good tailbacks. You will see our run game pick up as the season goes on. Why do I think that? I just know it."
Both McGee and Love were asked if the Hogs have to be patient against the Tide defense?
"I don't think that is our philosophy," McGee said. "We don't want to be patient with anything."
Love frowned before responding, like someone had said a bad word.
"We don't want to be like that," he said. "That's like saying it's alright to start slow. We don't want to start slow. We want to explode. We don't come to the game thinking about being patient." The Arkansas sports information department indicated that sophomore offensive tackle Anthony Oden, out from practice starting last week, is recovering from a bout with mononucleosis.