After Thursday's indoor workout, Arkansas head coach John L. Smith said, "They are going to come after us. You have to wait and see how much. But that bodes well for us. We like our matchups with our wide receivers. We think our quarterback is capable of handling the protections. He's very capable of protecting himself. We work a lot every week on blitz protection."
No one mentioned it to Smith, but the last time the Hogs were in Little Rock the Hogs had trouble protecting quarterback Tyler Wilson. He took multiple shots and didn't return in the second half due to a concussion.
What was mentioned was the result of that last game in Little Rock, an overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe. Is there a redemption factor in play for the 3-4 Razorbacks as they head to War Memorial Stadium for a 11:21 a.m. kickoff Saturday?
"I know our players are excited about getting back down there," Smith said. "Maybe (redemption) is part of it. I do know we have practiced extremely well. If we go to the field and play with that energy and focus, we'll be okay."
Smith, assistant coaches and players maintain the practices have been excellent both this week and last when the Hogs had an open week.
"We had a pretty good day today and I believe how you practice is how you play -- I don't believe you just turn the switch," Smith said, noting the Hogs worked indoors after temperatures dropped 20 degrees during the day with some light rain mixed in for some real bitterness.
"We were inside mainly because of the rain," Smith said. "It's going to be cooler Saturday morning, but we don't expect rain for the game. So that's why we wanted to be inside."
Smith said the Hogs are healthy, although defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones is still not totally recovered from leg problems. Jones has missed time of late, perhaps with sore knees.
"He wears down," Smith said. "We'd like to get him down under 300 pounds. He's better, but I don't know how much he'll play."
Tight end Chris Gragg will play, but Smith said there is still some soreness at times. Gragg hasn't played since injuring his leg and knee against Rutgers. He's likely to start and could be a key man in outside run plays against inside blitzes by the Rebels.
Smith said the Hogs are getting better in every respect, especially in comparison to their last Little Rock trip.
"I think we are a bunch better," Smith said. "We are more comfortable with everything. We've gotten better offensively. We are more physical. We have established the run game better.
"Defensively, we seem like a much more sound team. We have not been giving up the big plays. We make teams work for it. Our new guys are coming around. The freshmen -- A. J. Turner, Otha Peters and Will Hines -- continue to improve.
"I feel better as a coach about them. And if I'm more confident, I'm sure the players are, too."
Smith said he's not worried about the early start. He said the Hogs are early risers. He was asked if that early start might hurt the home atmosphere that often gets crazy for night games in Little Rock.
"We are excited to play early," he said. "We'd rather get up and play instead of waiting all day. We get up early. That's just what we are used to doing. I think our guys like it.
"I think our atmosphere will be good. It always is in Little Rock. The Hog Walk in Little Rock is always great. It's a great place for us to play."