Former Razorbacks Players Welcome Challenge

FAYETTEVILLE --It's not really pushing the envelope to understand why Kim Dameron and Ron Dickerson Jr. have been rooting for Arkansas this season.

Until now.

It's understandable since both are former Razorbacks football players, but more understandable why they are not rooting for Arkansas tonight because both are assistant coaches at Louisiana-Monroe.

Arkansas (1-3) meets ULM (2-3) at 6 p.m. today in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock in a nonconference, but meaningful, game.

Dameron, a Rogers native who was a defensive back at Arkansas who lettered from 1979-82, is the ULM defensive coordinator.

Dickerson, a former Hogs running back/wide receiver ('89-'92), is the ULM running backs coach.

"Every week, I wish (Arkansas) nothing but the best," Dameron said. "Of course, except this week."

Dickerson, who recruits Arkansas, knows the feeling. He understands the train of thought.

"For me, it would be different to beat Arkansas because it's my alma mater and everything," he said. "It would be good for our kids, though, because they have worked so hard."

One thing both won't have to worry about is pregame introductions to Arkansas coach Houston Nutt.

And that's not pushing the envelope, either.

Dameron was Nutt's defensive coordinator at Murray State from 1993 to 1995 and Nutt coached Dickerson as an assistant coach (wide receivers) at Arkansas (1990-92).

"I worked with coach Nutt and worked with a lot of the assistants there at Arkansas now," Dameron said. "We worked together at Murray State.

"I have a lot of great friends on the Arkansas staff."

And Dameron has a lot of friends in the state, a place he doesn't get to come very often.

He admitted probably wouldn't recognize his hometown because of its enormous growth since he left.

"No, I don't think I'd recognize the place at all," Dameron said. "We have a trainer (Christina Gliedt) here who graduated from Rogers High School. She's like ... oh ... she's been out of high school since 2000, maybe '99 something like that. But anyway, she was ... I didn't know she was from Rogers until like two or three weeks ago and we got to talking about Rogers and she said, "It's crazy. Rogers is the biggest high school in Arkansas. Place still is growing.'

" It wasn't quite that way when I was there."

"I haven't been to Fayetteville since they renovated the stadium. I'm glad we're in a situation where we're either in Fayetteville or Little Rock, playing against Arkansas.

"I look forward to it."

Dameron, however, said he doesn't look forward to trying to figure out how to stop the Arkansas offense even though he knows what to expect tonight.

"No question they'll try to run the ball," he said. "Houston and, of course, Mike Markuson, the offensive line coach, are good friends of mine. And I used to work with (Razorbacks quarterbacks coach) Roy Wittke at Eastern Illinois. I know they want to hang their hats on running the football.

"We are just going to go in and do the best we can do.

"One thing I've noticed about them, in looking at them on film, is they have gotten a ton of big plays. Sixty and 70-yard plays. We'll have to stop the big plays.

"They've been an offense which has gotten a lot of explosive big plays. Even though, right now their record doesn't indicate it ... I know there's a lot of people not happy that they are 1-3, but offensively they have busted some big runs."

Dickerson said controlling the tempo will be a key for the Indians.

"We just are going to have to continue the little things we started here last week (in a 31-27 win against Arkansas State)," he said. "Arkansas has a very aggressive defense, have a lot of energy. They also have a lot of speed on their defense. We are going to have to play sound football and execute on offense to offset the things they do."

Dickerson knows it will be a challenge, much like it was against Arkansas State last weekend.

"Oh, you know, just this program alone is impressive," he said. "It would be a great step forward for us to beat them. It's a good SEC (Southeastern Conference) team. It would be interesting to win.

"You know you, Arkansas State was a great team. I'm not going to say they are a good team. They are a great team. We got into a situation when we felt comfortable.

"It was a momentum booster, going into this weekend."




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