Hogs Adjust To Change In Plans

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino received the word around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday that Saturday's game at No. 8 Texas had been postponed because of Hurricane Ike.

Immediately, Petrino and his staff got to work changing scouting reports, making new travel plans and coming up with some last-minute changes for this weekend.

It has been a mad scramble ever since.

The Razorbacks returned to the practice field on Thursday afternoon, but rather than wrapping up their preparations for Texas, they turned their attention to No. 11 Alabama.

"It caught me off-guard. We were pumped, a big opportunity to go down to Texas and beat a ranked team and make a name for ourselves," Arkansas defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard said. "So when I got the news, I was kind of a little disappointed."

Over the past week, Arkansas' coaches and players had focused their efforts on renewing the rivalry with Texas in Austin. But those plans have changed.

Officials from Arkansas and Texas announced late Wednesday night that Saturday's game has been postponed until Sept. 27 because of concerns about Hurricane Ike. The storm is expected to slam into the Texas coast on Saturday.

"We're disappointed we're not playing. I think we put in two hard practices into it, two good days of preparation and then find out we're not going," Petrino said. "But we certainly understand it."

Instead of leaving for Texas, Petrino will give his players today and Saturday off before returning to practice Sunday night. The short break will be the last chance the Razorbacks get to relax before they face four top 15 teams in four weeks.

Because of the change in schedule, Arkansas (2-0) will host No. 11 Alabama on Sept. 20, make up the game against Texas on Sept. 27 and then open October with back-to-back games against No. 4 Florida and No. 9 Auburn.

For now, seven of Arkansas' coaches will use the change in plans to hit the road and recruit in parts of the state and in other areas like Florida.

Meanwhile, the Razorbacks held a 90-minute practice on Thursday. But unlike in weeks past, the team had no immediate opponent to prepare for.

"Today was kind of different. We didn't really prepare for anything. We just had a practice to try to get better at fundamentals," Arkansas tight end D.J. Williams said. "It's going to be a quick turnaround to start preparing for Alabama. The good part is we found out now so we'll have more time to do that."

As a result of the postponement, the Razorbacks have lost one of their two open weeks this season and will play eight consecutive games until their next Saturday off on Nov. 15.

Petrino said, however, he and his staff are hoping to use the next few days to get ahead in their preparations for the Crimson Tide.

As soon as the Texas game was postponed, Arkansas' coaches began putting together scouting reports on Alabama and drawing up their game plan.

"We were hoping we would play (Texas) and then have the bye scheduled when we had it. But you just adjust and keep going," Petrino said. "Hopefully we'll get in a couple extra days of preparation and it will show up in the (Alabama) game."

This is believed to be the first time that Arkansas has had a game postponed because of weather. But it's nothing new for Petrino.

He was in his second season at Louisville when Hurricane Ivan forced the postponement of the Cardinals' game at Tulane in September of 2004. The game was pushed back to early December, but everything worked out for Petrino.

Louisville won 55-7.

"It worked out all right. You just make the best. You improvise and adjust," Petrino said. "It's not going to be the last time we have to change schedules or last time we have to change the way we're working. So we just go straight forward and attack it."

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