"You challenge your maturity," Petrino said Thursday as the Hogs prepared for their trip to Oxford. Game time Saturday is at 11:21 a.m.
Alabama throttled the Rebels last week. Petrino said the Razorbacks know that's about how it's gone for every team against the Tide.
The Hogs have improved during their open week, according to Petrino. The Arkansas coach likes the progress in the running game.
"Our timing has been good," he said. "We've gotten more work the last two weeks. We feel better about our running game. Our timing of where the blocks are going to be with the backs is better. They are hugging the wall of the blockers. We've worked hard on pad level. That's for the backs and for the offensive line. We worked on getting our pads down and playing faster."
The Hogs took off with the running game over the second half of last season. Petrino didn't predict that, but he did hope that history repeats itself.
"Our backs are as healthy as we've been," Petrino said. "Dennis Johnson has hit hit stride. Broderick Green keeps getting better. Ronnie Wingo is full speed (after missing the last game)."
There were questions about the chances for Knile Davis to return this season. Davis sustained a broken ankle in August. He's been wearing a boot following surgery, but that's gone and there has been some straight ahead running of late.
"Everything I've been told, that's a season ending injury," Petrino said. "As far as I know, he's out for the season."
Petrino said he looks forward to the weekend.
"It seems like forever since we've played," he said. "We've gotten a lot accomplished. We've practiced faster. We are as healthy as we've been. I am looking forward to seeing how we perform on the road.
"It's important for us to start fast. We've talked about that. We want to execute in all phases -- offense and defense -- early in the game. That's what we've emphasized in the last two weeks with our players."