UA Thursday Grid Report, 10-14

The Razorback football team will honor the late Barbara Broyles by placing a sticker on their helmet for Saturday's game at No. 4 Auburn.

When the visiting University of Arkansas football team trots out to meet No. 4 Auburn Saturday in an SEC showdown at 2:30 p.m. on CBS, they'll have a different look on their helmets.

That's because the Razorbacks (3-2, 1-1) will be wearing a black BB sticker with white lettering to honor Barbara Broyles, the late wife of UA athletic director Frank Broyles, when they take the field against the unbeaten Tigers (6-0, 3-0).

Mrs. Broyles passed away at the Broyles' home on Wednesday due to complications from Alzheimer's, which she was diagnosed with in 1999.

""In remembrance of a great lady we're going to put the initials "BB" (Barbara Broyles) on our helmet for Saturday," Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said. "She was a great, great lady who was always so kind and graceful and giving. She was always perfect in my book. She will always be the first lady of the Razorbacks and this is in remembrance of her.

"A lot of our players don't really know her, but they know Coach Broyles and they know how many times he has talked about her," Nutt added, "so I think it's a great tribute to a great lady."

Arkansas completed its on-field preparations on Thursday with a workout that lasted just over an hour. The Razorbacks used both its outdoor fields and indoor practice area.

"Today was a great day as far as intensity and concentration, that's what you always want," Nutt said. "We went in to try to get some of the music and loudness for the communication part of the offense. Defense swarmed to the football and that's what we've got to have. We have to play four quarters of football against a great football team."

Arkansas also worked on its special teams on Thursday as it looks to improve from its current low averages in both kickoff and punt returns.

Senior DeCori Birmingham, who has been banged up, will return to punt return duty this week and needs just two yards to take over the career lead in punt return yardage.

"The open date helped us and we put a lot of emphasis on it," Nutt said. "We have to get better in that department. DeCori Birmingham is back there and we have to put a lot of confidence in him. Our guys have worked hard on putting pressure on the punter.

"We haven't had very many opportunities for kickoff returns, but the times that we've had there have been some indecisions," Nutt continued. "I've got a lot of confidence again in DeCori Birmingham being full speed and Cedric Washington. I really think they're going to do so much better this last half of the season and we need it to start on Saturday."

Arkansas is the top passing team in the SEC with 253.2 yards per game, leads in total offense (459.2) and is tops in the SEC in scoring with 37.8 point clip, four points better than runner-up Auburn, who is second in the league in pass defense (149.8).

But the Tigers' defense is giving up an average of 7.2 points per game while the Razorbacks are giving up 22 points per contest.

"We are playing an excellent football team in Auburn," Nutt said. "We will need to be at our best."


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