The Razorbacks relied on defense to slip past Tulsa, 19-15, last week, but head back to SEC action this week with a trip to South Carolina and veteran coach Steve Spurrier. Haynes will match wits with Spurrier as he tries to prepare true freshmen A. J. Turner and Otha Peters at inside linebacker.
Turner has started the last three games because of injuries. Peters, who played a lot as a backup against TU, will get his first start after senior Terrell Williams was suspended indefinitely because of an alcohol-related arrest over the weekend.
"They are doing good," Haynes said of the practices of Turner and Peters this week. "They are out there working for us."
The backups will likely be Jarrett Lake and Braylon Mitchell. Lake played in a reserve role the last couple of weeks on the inside after moving inside from outside linebacker in a nickel package, but Mitchell has been used primarily on special teams.
"The freshmen are fighting and competing," Haynes said. "They'll know what we give them. The negative is that they are young guys and not used to the velocity of the (South Carolina) offense, what they do by formation. The good thing is that they are both very instinctive and very smart.
"They are picking up what they are asked to do. We are trying to be smart about what we are asking from them. We just want to put them in a good position and let them just go play. We just have to make sure we don't give them too much.
"Both of them are excited and they are really studying the film. They have been in there a lot because they are both super excited. They are in there every chance they've got to learn their offense."
Haynes sounded excited to be going against Spurrier. He called the Carolina head coach "a legend," and noted that even his wife's family is excited about this week's game.
"He's an ambassador for the coaching profession," Haynes said. "I am excited to be going against him. My wife is from Florida and their family was always a fan of him as the Gators' coach and they've always heard about him."
Spurrier's legend was built off the passing game with the great Florida teams, but Haynes said that his style may have changed a bit.
"They can run both smashmouth and they can throw it," he said. "So they do a little bit of both, but they are going to be smart enough to do what works against you. I will say that of late, they probably do try to be a little more smashmouth. They have great defense and great backs, so they'll rely on that. He's smart enough as a coach that he's going to make you play that first."
Arkansas safety Ross Rasner said there is versatility in Carolina's attack.
"I think they are good enough that they can take advantage of what you don't do well," Rasner said. "I think with Coach Spurrier, he's going to look at your tape and see what gives you trouble. He's going to see the plays you struggle with and then that's what he's going to try first.
"But they have balance so that you can't overload against their offense. They are going to be good at everything. I think that's what you see with them now. They have a great quarterback in Connor Shaw. He's talented enough to make the outside throws and then he can beat you with his feet inside if you load up too much there.
"You have to respect what Coach Spurrier has done there. You try not to pay attention to the coach when you are out there playing. You have to focus on football, but you know he's over there. You just know he's going to be prepared for what works against your team."
Haynes said it just comes down to doing the things that have led to modest defensive improvement over the last few games.
"I think we have improved," he said. "The number one goal is to continue to stop the run. We just have to continue to improve on our pass drops. I think where we've improved is the overall continuity of the whole defense and the attitude."
South Carolina will be without star running back Marcus Lattimore. The Gamecocks have had an open date to absorb that loss. However, Haynes said he doesn't expect to see scheme changes with Lattimore out.
"They don't change their offense," Haynes said. "They are going to run the exact same things. They are going to run the power and the zone. We know they have good backs and they run hard. What we see on tape, their backs don't run out of bounds. When they get there, they turn and try to run you over. They have powerful backs.
"They also can make you miss. They are going to stretch you vertically, then hit you with screens and make you miss.
"We know it's going to be about stopping the run first. We want to do that and then make them one dimensional."