Monday Grid Update, 10/25

University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino felt like his Razorbacks (5-2, 2-2) needed a day off Sunday, but it's back to work on Monday as Vanderbilt (2-5, 1-3) visits this Saturday for Homecoming.

There is absolute no truth to the rumor that University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino called off Sunday's practice so he could go to the Snoop Dogg concert at Barnhill Arena.

He did, however, decide that after two gut-wrenching, back-to-back football games – including the Razorbacks' 38-24 win over Ole Miss on Saturday that lasted five hours – his No. 18 Razorbacks (5-2, 2-2) did need a break.

"With two tough, hard-fought games, we took yesterday off so we could get away," Petrino said. " I felt like everyone felt like I did Saturday night when it was about 8 o'clock and it felt like 1 o'clock in the morning. (So) let's get a little rest, take a break here, come back this evening and just have meetings, and then start practicing tomorrow."

Defensive end Tenarius Wright, linebacker Jerico Nelson and tailback Knile Davis – all on hand for Monday's press conference – noted the time off was needed and very much appreciated.

"I was thinking "Thank you, Coach," noted defensive end Tenarius Wright, whose squad rebounded from a 65-43 loss at Auburn.

Injured Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett (shoulder), who did take in the concert and got his picture taken with the rapper, and wideouts Joe Adams and Greg Childs (ankles) used some of the time for treatment of their ailments.

"They all came in yesterday for treatment twice," Petrino said. "We're in here early this morning. Were significantly better this morning. They'll be back again this afternoon for more treatment. It'll probably be a day-to-day situation. I think Ryan will be able to practice some tomorrow. Right now I don't know about the other two."

Arkansas' next foe is Vanderbilt (2-5, 1-3), who owns a road win over Ole Miss and gave South Carolina a challenge before falling 21-7 in Nashville on Saturday.

"We've got Vanderbilt coming in, watched them the other night on TV," Petrino said. "They played South Carolina very tough. They did a nice job on defense and offensively they run the spread -option package which, again, we'll have to practice to defend."

The Commodores, under interim head coach Robby Caldwell, switched offensive coordinators on Monday with running game coordinator assuming the role and Jimmy Kiser relegating to just coaching the quarterbacks.

"They made a switch in coordinators today, so I'm not sure what that does," Petrino said. "We can't really worry about that. We just have to practice for what they've been doing and go against what their tendencies are right now."

Petrino said his team won't be able to depend on Vanderbilt making mistakes.

"First of all," Petrino said, "our players will watch the video and say, ‘We've got to get ready to go. This is a good football team.' They do things real well. They don't make any mistakes. They play with great effort."

They also have a mobile quarterback in redshirt junior Larry Smith (6-2, 220) , who has passed for over 1,000 yards and rushed for over 300 before taking sack yardage out.

"{That's the day and age right now, is the running quarterbacks," Petrino said. "It's something we've done now for - what? - four weeks in a row, going back to Texas A&M. All are a little bit different style. This presents another challenge for us. We've got to do a good job with the option read package. I thought we did a good job with it the other day. We did a good job of penetrating. We didn't turn guys loose. We did our assignments and played fast and that really helped us."

The Commodores will go no-huddle.

"It's no different than what we've been seeing, the no huddle , get to the line fast, make calls at the line," Petrino said. "It's not a lot different than what we've been facing."

Vanderbilt's defense has been solid this season.

"They like to zone blitz," "Petrino said. " Did that a lot the other night. They do it against certain personnel groups more than others…They try to really move their front. They don't sit around and read. They're usually moving them one way or the other and running line games.

"They have physical linebackers that come down hill and do a nice job stopping the run," Petrino added. " They have a corner that has a whole bunch of interceptions. He's one of those corners you worry about going against, because he'll just cheat and jump on things. So we have to do a good job of being able to mix it up, run and pass."

Arkansas easily had its most balanced game of the season in the win over Ole Miss with 267 yards passing and 196 yards rushing with sophomore tailback Knile Davis having 22 carries for 176 yard and 3 touchdowns – all career highs – to lead the ground attack.

"Offensively, I thought we ran the ball better than we have all year long," Petrino said. "Our offensive front was playing physical, finishing off blocks, coming off the ball, against a very good defensive front. So that was good to see. Knile hit the holes and ran with great power."

He lauded the offensive line and especially redshirt freshman Anthony Bailey for his best effort to date.

"They played really well together," Petrino said. "Alvin Bailey had his best game of the year. He had some big, big blocks. Some physical blocks, some good cuts. But overall as a group, just the effort and speed we played with, the toughness, we got after them pretty good. I was excited about it."

Petrino is not ready to call Davis the feature back, but was very pleased with what he saw on Saturday.

"I've never said the word featured," Petrino said. " But Knile's been the guy getting the majority of the carries since the Alabama game. The way he's practiced, the way he's ran the football. The energy he's given our offense has been very, very good. I think Ronnie Wingo's been making great strides in practice the last three weeks on hitting his tracks, running full speed, running physical. Obviously if Ronnie gets in there and has the hot hand we'll give him the ball too.

"It's been a kind of deal where Knile is the one producing," Petrino added. "And the other day it was , ‘hey, let's get him the ball as much as we can.'"

Davis admitted to loving the extra workload.

"It's all up to Coach Petrino," Davis said. " He felt confident enough to give me 22 carries this game, and I didn't give him any regrets. I found myself getting into a rhythm, and it worked out."

Davis was quick to credit his offensive line, the receivers and his roommate – fullback Van Stumon – for a lot of his success.

"The (offensive) line did a great job," Davis said. "Not only the line, but the receivers as well. Everyone did a really good job, and I was proud of them. Van had an attitude this game. I don't know what got into him."


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