Let's Get It Started

Arkansas' players and coaches talk about how excited they are game week is finally here and how much they are looking forward to opening the season Saturday night with Jacksonville State.

Arkansas' players and coaches are not leaving any doubt about how excited they are that game week has finally arrived.

The Razorbacks open their 2012 season Saturday night at 6 p.m. in Fayetteville when they host Jacksonville State and former Arkansas head coach Jack Crowe.

Enough of this going against each other in preseason camp says Arkansas senior tailback Ronnie Wingo.

"I feel that it (camp) went real, real good," Wingo said. "I feel like we are still trying to find our true, true identity, but I think we are close to it. I feel like our chemistry is good. I feel like we are just tired of going against our defense and just ready to go against another team."

Razorback sophomore defensive end Trey Flowers is ready.

"We are real anxious," Flowers said. "I'm looking forward to it. We have been in camp beating on each other all day. I am anxious to get out there and beat somebody else."

That sentiment is shared by Razorback linebacker coach Taver Johnson, who will be coaching his first game for his new school on Saturday.

"You are always anxious to get the season going, especially when it is so close," Johnson said. "We are just like the players. That is why we coach. We are fired up for Sept. 1, but we understand that we still have work to do.

"Once it gets here, you really start rolling so we want to make sure we do take our time and we are definitely for it mentally and physically," Johnson added.

You can put senior cornerback Darius Winston in the anxious camp as well.

"I am very anxious to get into the season," Winston said. "It's been a lot of hard work to get up to this point – spring ball, (preseason) camp," Winston said. "I am just very anxious, very anxious and get after another opponent."

The Razorbacks will enter the season ranked 10th in the country by the Associated Press and will open against a FCS team that upset Ole Miss and former Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt two seasons ago.

Winston says the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State have his respect just as much as the Gamecocks of South Carolina or any other foe.

"I respect every opponent the same," Winston said. "We have to respect everyone the same and then go out and play the game. The game is not played on paper and there is no telling what will happen."

Crowe was the Razorback coach 20 years ago when The Citadel pulled off arguably the biggest upset an Arkansas team has ever had occur.

That's not something that many of the Arkansas players – most of who were not board - were even aware of until asked by the media.

"I didn't know that until right now," Winston said.

Arkansas starting quarterback Tyler Wilson says he is ready to play instead of watch.

"When you watch some of this preseason NFL stuff, you kind of start to go ‘alright, it's football season,'" Wilson said. "You also talk to some ex-guys (Razorbacks) and how they are prepping for games and it's almost there. I'm excited."

Wilson says that this preseason camp has been good for both the offense and defense because the two units have been allowed to be more competitive than they were under former head coach Bobby Petrino.

"I think you guys have seen a completely different brand of the way defensive structure has happened here in the last month," Wilson said. "When Coach (Bobby) Petrino was here, the defensive scheme was designed to kind of prep the offense.

"It was competitive each and every day out here this year because the defense was scheming to beat the offense," Wilson added. "In that regard, it made it a lot more competitive and you saw it in scrimmages and you saw it in practices."

Wilson is proud of where the offense is with six days left before the opener.

"I thought offensively we have handled it extremely well and we have gotten better, especially in the last two or three weeks," Wilson added. "You see a big jump and change there."

Wilson also noted that he has loved working with new offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.

"I think it is the fact that when he gets on me, it is for a reason," Wilson said. "It is not about something that doesn't matter, it is about something that I really need to be gotten on about. I like to be coached that way.

"But it is also a mutual understanding that ‘hey, this is what we want to do, this is what we want to get done, this is how we want to operate and these are the standards. We both come in and I think he gets me to those standards each and every day."

Arkansas tailback Knile Davis saw his first live contact of the season during a Friday dress rehearsal.

Wilson had already seen what he needed to out of Davis.

"When I am out watching practice and seeing him hit the hole, he is hitting it fast and it looks different than some of the other guys hit it," Wilson said. "That is a positive for me and the rest of this team."


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