Must Run More

Arkansas fans may have been thrilled to watch quarterback Casey Dick throw 75 passes in the first two games. But coach Bobby Petrino said he's not happy with the Razorbacks (2-0) run-pass ratio heading into Saturday's game against No. 9 Alabama (3-0).

The Razorbacks, who had to take to the air to come back from four-quarter deficits against Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe, have run the ball 57 times so far. Dick is responsible for 17 of those, while tailbacks — Michael Smith, De'Anthony Curtis and Dennis Johnson — have combined for just 36 carries.

"I don't like the run-pass percentage that we're working right now simply because we've been behind," Petrino said Monday. "Everything looks like we're pass happy when basically we need to run the ball better and be in the game where we have an opportunity to let the run take over a little bit."

It's no surprise that Arkansas, which had one of the nation's top ground games for several years, is 10th in the conference in rushing (129.5 yards). The Razorbacks do lead the SEC in passing (320.5 yards) and are second in total yards (450 yards).

But Petrino said the attack must be more balanced against Alabama, even though taking a step in the run game will be challenging.

The Crimson Tide's rushing defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation. Alabama has not allowed a rushing touchdown in three games.

"They've got a great run defense," Dick said. "Alabama has always been that type of a defense. We've got to look at it and see if we can pick up any advantage of what they're going to do and gain any advantage we can to get the run game going."



Tone Setter

The significance of Saturday's game isn't lost on Arkansas or Alabama. Both teams consider the SEC opener as a pivotal tone setter.

"The goal is to go 1-0," Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs said. "And with them being in the (SEC) Western Division, it can be the gateway to how good our season can be and really prove to the young guys on this team that we can do it and we can play against this conference and really turn some heads."

Said Alabama defensive end Lorenzo Washington: "It's like a must win. Every win you get in the SEC is going to pay off in the end. This would be a big boost to our team if we go into Arkansas, do what we're supposed to do, and come out with a ‘W.'"



Kicking Update

Sophomore Alex Tejada, who was benched after a disastrous second quarter against Louisiana-Monroe game, enters Alabama week as Arkansas' top place-kicker.

But Petrino said that could change depending on how well Tejada and backup Shay Haddock perform this week.

"Both of them have been working at it," Petrino said. "We're still practicing. Right now, if we were going (Monday), (Tejada) would come out there. He's no. 1 on the depth. But you go to work every day and evaluate all of our positions every day."



Where's No. 2?

Petrino had hoped to watch at least one of his backup quarterbacks play against Western Illinois and ULM. But two close games have kept Casey Dick on the field and backups Nathan Dick, Tyler Wilson and Alex Mortensen on the bench.

"That's one of the problems with not playing real well in the first two games and the score being close — not getting any experience for our backup quarterback," Petrino said. "So we need to do a good job of making sure Casey stays healthy."

Mortensen is Arkansas' only backup quarterback with playing experience. He saw action in four games in 2005, completing 6 of 17 passes for 63 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.



Texas Time

The Arkansas-Texas game may have been postponed for two weeks because of Hurricane Ike, but the television broadcast and kickoff time won't change when the teams play on Sept. 27.

It was announced Monday that the nonconference game will be broadcast by ABC Sports with a kickoff time of 2:30 p.m.

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