Hogs Tabbed Sixth in SEC West

HOOVER, Ala. — Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs knew outside expectations weren't high for a team that lost Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.

But when Luigs found out the Razorbacks had been picked to finish last in the Western Division in the Southeastern Conference Media Days poll Friday morning, the senior admitted it stung.

"I won't lie," Luigs said. "You don't want to be picked last in anything, whether it's a kick ball game or in your conference."

Florida was projected as the overall SEC champion in the poll, which consisted of 70 ballots from media members, by earning 26 first-place votes. Auburn was picked to win the SEC West over LSU, Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss and Arkansas.

The SEC Media Days poll fell in line with most preseason prognosticators, who expect the Razorbacks to struggle in their first year under Bobby Petrino. The new coach said the poll doesn't come as a surprise because it's based on how a team finishes the previous year and how many starters return.

Arkansas has nine starters back from 2008.

"It certainly wasn't unexpected," Petrino said. "It certainly will help motivate us. But it's not going to help us win or help us lose any games."

In addition, Luigs was the only Arkansas player to earn an individual honor when he was named first-team, All-SEC center. Auburn led the league with nine players selected to the first and second teams.

The Hogs' lone selection tied Vanderbilt for last.

"We're just going to work harder," Luigs said. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish. That's the mindset we're going to have this season."

Big Day

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was peppered with questions about his Oct. 25 return to Fayetteville on Thursday. So it was only fair that the Razorbacks were quizzed about it Friday.

Petrino, Luigs and linebacker Elston Forte all faced questions about the Arkansas-Ole Miss game. All three of them had remarkably similar answers.

"It will be fun for sure," Luigs said. "It will be built up around the state and maybe nationally. We're going to have to have our mind right that game.

"We're not playing Coach Nutt, we're playing the Ole Miss Rebels. When you're on the field, you don't really look to that sideline. It will be fun seeing him after the game, but hopefully we'll come out on top."

Petrino Hopes Trainer Hired Soon

Petrino is in need of a trainer, and he hopes one is hired before preseason practice begins on Aug. 4.

Arkansas announced Dean Weber is taking on a new role as director of equipment operations on Thursday. Petrino said the move didn't catch him by surprise. Weber told him of his interest to move into an administrative role two weeks after he was hired.

But the decision leaves the Razorbacks without a head athletic trainer with practice set to begin.

"We have had some discussions with trainers coming up," Petrino said. "Obviously, we need to move very fast. I know that our athletic director, Jeff Long, is on top of it. Hopefully, we'll have someone there before we get started."

No QB Rotation Expected

Senior Casey Dick left the spring as Arkansas' starting quarterback. Petrino doesn't see that changing before the season opener on Aug. 30, but he will leave the competition open.

"I would anticipate Casey being the starter and not really having a rotation," Petrino said. "But that's always subject to change once we get into practice and see where everybody's at." -Alex Abrams and Robbie Neiswanger

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