Rollin' Into The Rock

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas' official homecoming game came two weeks ago against Southeast Missouri State, but don't tell that to the Razorbacks' four starting defensive linemen.

For Little Rock natives Keith Jackson, Marcus Harrison, Jamaal Anderson and Antwain Robinson, Saturday's game against Louisiana-Monroe in War Memorial Stadium (6 p.m., ESPNU) marks a chance to see the true home folks.

Robinson, of Little Rock Central, hurt his left ankle last week against Ole Miss, but he said, "I've already told my mom I'm going to play, just for her."

Anderson, a Parkview High graduate, said, "It feels like a homecoming when you play at War Memorial Stadium. Seeing my family will be fun."

Harrison, of Little Rock Mills and Hargrave (Va,) Military Academy, echoed, "Just being able to be in my hometown and play in front of the Little Rock fans will be great. My grandmother lives five minutes from the stadium."

Jackson played at McClellan and his father, Keith Jackson of Oklahoma and NFL grid fame, played at Parkview. Keith Sr. has made it a mission to help underprivileged kids in Little Rock improve their circumstances.

"Man, it's an exciting time to have your home fans greet you," Keith Jackson Jr. said.

Hogs coach Houston Nutt, a former two-sport star at Little Rock Central who grew up in the shadow of War Memorial, can appreciate his Little Rock players' feelings.

"All our guys are excited about playing there," Nutt said. "But we can't have a happy-go-lucky attitude. We've got to concentrate on the task at hand."

While this is technically a home game for ULM, Arkansas has beaten the Warhawks in Little Rock the past two years, 49-20 in 2004 and 44-15 last season.

Hogs defensive coordinator Reggie Herring figures the Little Rock date comes at a good time.

"Human nature is, you can get stale in familiar surroundings," Herring said. "Playing in different surroundings should put a little pepper in our step. But we're so focused right now that we could play at Fayetteville High."

Herring said there's little doubt the Little Rock-based Razorbacks will be more excited on Saturday.

"They'd better be, if they're wanting to show off and beat their chest a little bit," he said. "We're looking for those four defensive linemen to play well."

Jackson said, "The only time I've lost in War Memorial is to Antwain's Central team."

He said the Hogs' defense has come on as a unit since the opening 50-14 loss to Southern California.

"It's just a mindset," Jackson said. "After that USC game, we said we're not losing like that again. But there are still doubters out there. Don't nobody think we can win the SEC West."

Anderson, whose Parkview team played Little Rock Catholic in War Memorial, said, "We don't want to lose track of what we're there to do. Hopefully I can get a pick (interception) and this one won't get called back."

Robinson said his mother wouldn't have very far to go to attend the game.

"It's almost in her backyard," he said. "I like War Memorial because it's compact and the fans are closer. The noise zones me out. Last year against Lousiana-Monroe we had trouble with our gap assignments, so we want to set a better tone this time."

Harrison's Mills team practiced in War Memorial his senior year before losing at Springdale, he said.

Harrison returned to the starting lineup last week after taking a couple of weeks to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery.

"I'm behind on my training, so I'm having to double it up now," he said. "I want to get back to where I was and help the team out."

The four source men from Little Rock have helped plenty.

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