Looking To Start Fast

Arkansas' offense hasn't scored in the first quarter this season.

That's right. Forty-five minutes, zero points. So needless to say, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino knew exactly how to respond to a question about whether he hoped for a quick start Saturday at No. 7 Texas.

"We've been talking about that for about a month now," he said. "We do want a fast start. We need to make that happen. Our problem has been that about 10 (players) do their job and there is one breakdown. It's not every play like that, but we've had some of that."

Petrino was then asked how often more than one player had a breakdown on any play.

"Really, there hasn't been too much of that," Petrino said. "Mostly, it's just been one and it's usually a different one."



Goal-Line Stands

Arkansas and Texas experienced opposite sides of goal-line stands last Saturday. The Razorbacks were stopped on four straight plays inside the Alabama 2. Texas kept Rice out of the end zone for 11 straight plays after the Owls reached the Longhorns 2.

Longhorns players talked this week about how the goal-line stand boosted confidence. The Hogs' experience obviously had an adverse effect.

"It was pretty deflating for us," Arkansas offensive lineman Jose Valdez said. "Coach stresses ‘smell the end zone' during practice every day when we're in the red zone.

"We've all got to smell the end zone together and want to get in, not just three and out and then get stopped on fourth down."



Smith Stepping Up

Many coaches, Petrino included, have pointed out that Arkansas has lacked the consistent presence of vocal leadership this season. One player who has emerged in recent weeks, though, has been junior running back Michael Smith.

Smith has also taken an interest in helping freshmen running backs De'Anthony Curtis and Dennis Johnson.

"He's working at it," Petrino said. "It's not something that he has done throughout his life. He's always been kind of a quiet leader, go out and do it by example, and he's done that. But now he's said he wants to make sure he makes a real commitment to doing it verbally, and he's done a nice job.

"He's really surfaced as a leader of our offense."



More Focus This Week

Bouncing back from a humbling loss wasn't a simple task for the Razorbacks as they prepared for their trip to Austin. But Petrino said he thought his players responded by paying more attention to details.

"I don't think we practiced harder, but I think the focus and energy was good," Petrino said. "We concentrated more on what the coaches were emphasizing. On defense, we ran full speed to the ball. On offense, we worked on running the ball better. We tried to eliminate mistakes. Our focus was good.

"I was proud of he way our team came to practice this week. They focused hard on technique and fundamentals."



Quick Hits

Petrino said Thursday that wide receiver Lucas Miller, who suffered a concussion last Saturday, would not play against the Longhorns. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said Tuesday that freshman Chris Gragg would see more playing time if Miller couldn't play. ... Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said Wednesday that two new starters would take the field Saturday at Texas — strong safety Jerico Nelson and linebacker Freddy Burton.

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