Mississippi State's blocking scheme -- with lots of cross action and pulling guards -- is designed to throw off gap control defenses like Arkansas. Defensive tackles Jared Green and Alfred Davis know they might not always get what their initial read tells them against the Bulldogs.
"They will be pulling their guards a lot," Green said. "It's like our coach tells us all the time, see a little feel a lot.
"You want to think that all you have to do is whoop the man across from you, but it's not like that with the way (State) plays with its blocking scheme. You see a pulling guard, you know you better fight back into the center. They are trying to get you to think one thing, but it's still about the gap. The gap might be moving. You better come back into the blocker."
Davis has played against this style before and it isn't always easy.
"They have those pulling guards, a lot of them," he said. "We have to do a great job against their misdirection. You have to maintain gap controls, but it changes with the movement of their linemen.
"They have fast running backs that are good in space. They do a great job. They are very fast and quick.
"They have a good offensive line. They have not given up many sacks. They have a quarterback who doesn't throw many interceptions and they protect him."
State has given up only 10 sacks on the season and junior quarterback Tyler Russell has thrown just four interceptions in 301 attempts.
"The guys in front of him have been blocking great," Davis said. "He stands back there and slings it around."
Defensive coordinator Paul Haynes preaches eye control for the safeties and the linebackers. It was that aspect that failed in critical situations last week against South Carolina, particularly with true freshmen linebackers A. J. Turner and Otha Peters.
"The young guys did struggle with eye control," Haynes said Wednesday. "That's going to happen at times. It's just the way it is with young players.
"It's still fun coaching these young players. I love them. I think you hear the same from (linebackers coach Taver Johnson) about A.J. and Otha. You just look forward to them coming into the meetings. Coach Johnson says that, too, that they are fun to coach because they are so excited to be there."
It will likely be those two starting again, although senior Terrell Williams, suspended after an alcohol-related arrest, is back on the practice field. He's working with the scout team this week. Haynes said Williams "continues to work his way back and prove himself to the team."
Haynes said the team "worked hard" in Wednesday's practice. He said, "They gave good effort." He also praised what he's seen on film of Russell, who has 17 touchdown passes against the four interceptions.
"I've watched every tape of this year," Haynes said, when asked to compare Russell to last year. "I haven't (seen last year). But what I can tell you is that he is really playing well. We've talked to some other places that have played against them, they all say is he is playing well. I've thought he's played well even from what I've seen the last few games that they've lost. He's played well in those games.
"Russell is running that offense. He's not taking sacks. He knows that offense and plays it very well for them."
Cornerback/safety Kaelon Kelleybrew has been impressed with Russell, too.
"He's played well at quarterback and they've gotten big plays from their receivers," Kelleybrew said. "Chad Bumphis is a guy he likes to find for big plays."
Bumphis has averaged 15.7 yards per catch and has eight touchdowns on the season.
Haynes said, "He's got great quickness. He's been very good in space this year. We will have to get to him in a hurry and get our hands on him. He's a guy who can make plays in space."
Kelleybrew will handle punt return duties this week after freshman Nate Holmes sustained a concussion last week at South Carolina. The senior from Little Rock Central said it reminds him of his high school days and also his time at Mississippi Valey State before transferring to Arkansas.
"I've done this before, but not on this stage," he said. "Nothing I've done before is like doing it in an SEC game. I've missed doing this and I look forward to it."
Green, his close friend, isn't worried about Kelleybrew handling the added task.
"We played together at Central and he did that," Green said. "And I saw him return one 100 yards at Mississippi Valley."