Tuesday Grid Update, 11/22

The crowd inside and outside of Tiger Stadium can cause problems for the visitors, but the play of LSU's defensive interior is the real concern for the Razorbacks.

Arkansas finished its last full-pad workout of the season without serious injury and looked forward to a trip to Baton Rouge on Thursday. The Hogs meet the No. 3 LSU Tigers at 1:30 p.m. Friday in a game set for CBS-TV.

"It's a big game," said Jamaal Anderson, sophomore defensive end. "We are playing a very good LSU team, a team that is very balanced with good players in all areas."

The Hogs don't have to be told about the last time they appeared on national TV. As this writer prepared to ask Anderson about that game, he stopped him and said, "I know. It was the Southern Cal game. We would like to do something to create a better image for this university than we did that night."

Is that something the Hogs have talked about among themselves or have heard about from coaches?

"Not really," Anderson said. "I've just heard the question before from other writers this week. I knew what you were going to ask and I just went ahead and said it. We are past the USC game. We've come back from that and played hard and well in several games. We don't dwell on that any more. But I knew where you were going with that question. It's a fair question."

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt knows the Hogs need to play well on TV.

"Any time you get TV exposure, you want to take advantage of it," he said. "We haven't been on much and one of them hasn't been what you'd want. At least, this is on national TV with CBS. That's a bigger deal anyway. We want to play well and our players seem to be ready and excited."

Nutt said Tuesday's workout was outstanding.

"It was a good day, a very good day," he said. "I mean we were very fast today. It was a fast, fast day. We always emphasize playing fast in practice, but I told them before today that we wanted to make these our best and fastest practices of all year. It was that today.

"Our line did well today. We'll start Jeremy Harrell and Kyle Roper at guard and Jonathon Luigs at center. Roper is doing well. He is picking it up."

Nutt said guard Stephen Parker, doubtful for Friday's game, is improving and could be available in a pinch. Parker hails from Mandeville, La., not far from Baton Rouge.

The Hogs expect a "hostile" atmosphere at Baton Rouge. Quarterback coach Roy Wittke said it's good that true freshman Casey Dick has at least played in a road game and it is good that he traveled to both Alabama, Georgia and Southern Cal where the crowds were massive.

"But if you try to compare those places to LSU, then it's a mistake," he said. "Those places are loud. But Baton Rouge is just plain hostile. You see things there you don't see anywhere else.

"Two years ago I sat in the bus on the way to the stadium and I promise you I saw a grandmother and her grand daugter flip us off. I'm telling you I had never seen anything like that."

Linebacker Clarke Moore said he saw something similar.

"I saw a toddler in a man's arm and he gave us the finger," Moore said. "I'll never forget that. The man was smiling. He was proud of it. You don't see that any place else. It's a different kind of place."

Wittke said the only atmosphere he's seen that compares to Baton Rouge is at Lambeau Field in the hours leading up to a Green Bay Packer game.

"The drinking there probably makes that atmosphere what it is," Wittke said of the pro atmosphere. "This is kinda like that, what we'll see at Baton Rouge.

"The thing about it, it is hostile and their defense feeds off that. What we have to do is make plays and do things right ... no penalties, no mistakes and take them out of the game. You can do that if you keep making plays."

The first goal is to just execute the quarterback-center exchange. The interior of the LSU front disrupts most centers and quarterbacks.

"They have two guys that seem to know your snap count -- they just charge out of their stances and attack you," Wittke said. "We have to go short and then long and do a great job of changing up the snap count. We have some things scheme wise that we will do, too. It's a big part of the game, how you handle those two inside guys. They are great players."


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