While his team has played several solid foes so far, Springdale wideout and University of Arkansas commit Andrew Norman admits this week is a little different.
That's because not only is the matchup of No. 1 Springdale (4-0, 1-0) at No. 2 Fayetteville (4-0, 1-0) one of very good teams, but it's one of bitter archrivals.
"It is one that everybody around here is looking forward to and is different because of all the things that can happen when two rivals get together on the football field," Norman said. "Strange things happen when there is a rivalry game. I know we are excited about it and I know they are, too. They've have a great crowd and all our our fans will come down as well. It's going to be a great atmosphere to play in."
Norman, who has committed to the Razorbacks along with Springdale quarterback and best friend Mitch Mustain, had 6 catches for 117 yards last week in a 41-3 win over Southside.
That brought his season total to 21 catches for 349 yards, an average of 16.6 yards per catch, while finding the end zone once so far.
He caught a 52-yard Hail Mary pass from Mustain at the end of the first half last week, but came down at the 2.
"We've played great as a team and I'm having a pretty good year, but I think I can play a little better," Norman said. "II just wish I had got in the end zone a few more times, but I think that will come. I got real close last week."
The biggest part of his team that Norman is proud of so far is the Springdale defense, which has given up just one touchdown (a late one against Shreveport Evangel) and two field goals in four games this season.
"That's the most important and best part of our team right now," Norman said. "Our offense gets all the publicity, but the stars this year have really been on the defense like Russ Greenlee and Aaron Finch and I just can't say enough about them."
The offense has obviously done its share as well with by outscoring foes 166-13 so far with Mustain already passing for 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns, Norman and fellow wideout Damian Williams (20 catches, 425 yards, 8 TDs) being great targets and Matt Clinkscales rushing for 306 yards despite not carrying the ball in one of the games.
"Mitch has done a great job at getting the ball to us and Matt is really getting some great yards on the ground when his number is called," Norman said. "We've played well, but still have to keep improving."
Norman said he and Mustain have been talking with both Williams and tight end Ben Cleveland - both Florida commits - about joining them at Arkansas.
"There have certainly been some talks among us, some serious and some joking around," Norman said. "We'll keep talking to them unless they change the subject. I would like for them to come with us, but they will have to do what is in their heart at the end."
Obviously some have speculated about the firmness of Norman and Mustain's verbal pledges to the Razorbacks and UA head coach Houston Nutt with their 1-3 start to the 2005 season.
"They have been struggling a bit, but we have great faith in Coach Nutt and the other coaches to get it turned back around," Norman said. "I really thought we were going to come back Saturday and beat Alabama, who is a great team. I think they are going to win several more games.
"We (Norman and Mustain) are solid commitments," Norman added. "If anything were to change it would not be because of the record they have now or at the end of the year. Nothing's going to change about that because we are committed to Coach Nutt. If something changed with the coaches, we'd have to look at our options, but like I said we are committed to Coach Nutt."
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