Mitchell Ready?

It's clear that Arkansas nose guard Ernest Mitchell — who underwent surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee on Oct. 1 — will return to the field this season.

But after the senior participated in practice for the second straight day Wednesday, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Mitchell could be ready as soon as Saturday.

"We've got to kind of wait and see," Petrino said. "Wait and see how the video is, wait and see if there's any swelling. After (Tuesday's) individual (work), it came out very good. It didn't swell up. (Wednesday) he's doing more.

"We'll see how he handles that and if it swells or not."

Mitchell, who has missed two games, is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation. Arkansas originally thought he would miss four to six weeks, but Petrino said it's a "great sign" that Mitchell is on the practice field.

"It started the day after surgery when it didn't swell up on him and he had good flexibility, good range of motion," Petrino said. "It kind of surprised everybody how well he handled the surgery. There's no doubt he'll be back, it's just whether it's this week or not."

Zach Stadther has started in Mitchell's place the past two games, and Petrino said the freshman is likely to start again Saturday. But defensive tackles coach Bobby Allen said the Razorbacks will welcome Mitchell back to the defensive line rotation if he is cleared to play.

"Hopefully if we don't get him back this week, maybe next week we'll get him back," Allen said. "Obviously it's a huge shot for us to get him back."



Love Improving

Arkansas guard DeMarcus Love, who hasn't started the past two games because of an ankle injury, worked with the starters during the portion of Wednesday's practice that was open to the media.

Love was practicing in place of Grant Cook, who was missing for unknown reasons.

Petrino said afterwards he still expects Cook to start against the Wildcats, but Love has been performing much better and is nearly back to full speed.

"The hardest thing for him was, when the ankle wasn't feeling good, is he's such a competitor that he went completely away from his technique and wanted to maul people," Petrino said. "That set him back actually more than just having the injury. But I felt good about (Tuesday) night."



Watch For Cobb

Kentucky receiver Dicky Lyons' season-ending injury has the Wildcats looking for help. One player they could turn to is freshman quarterback/receiver Randall Cobb.

Cobb, who was slowed for three weeks by a high ankle sprain, is third on the team in receiving (11 catches, 84 yards and a touchdown) and fifth in rushing (59 yards and two touchdowns). He also has completed 7-of-12 passes for 91 yards with one touchdown, and Petrino believes he'll line up much more under center Saturday.

"We have to make sure we can stop the quarterback runs," Petrino said in reference to Cobb. "We're fortunate there's a lot of carryover last week in what we were preparing for in Auburn's quarterback runs."

Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said the Wildcats would like to use Cobb more at quarterback if possible. But he's not sure how much it will happen with Lyons out.

"If Dicky were healthy, we'd prefer to still leave (Cobb) at receiver some and work him at quarterback more," Brooks said. "But now, the receiver corps is very thin of experienced and productive players so we won't be able to do that as much as we maybe would've liked."



Do You Remember?

Brooks hasn't forgotten the last time Arkansas played in Commonwealth Stadium.

The Razorbacks defeated the Wildcats 70-63 in seven overtimes in 2003. The win helped Arkansas snap a three-game losing streak en route to a 9-4 finish. Kentucky, meanwhile, lost its final three games and finished 4-8.

"It was like two tired heavyweights going extra rounds for a championship, almost," Brooks said. "We couldn't stop them and they couldn't stop us until they finally got us (in the seventh overtime). It was just a great, entertaining game and one we were fortunate to get back in to tie it up at the end of regulation.

"But the seven overtime loss was probably one of the more difficult losses I've ever been in and had in my coaching career and I've had quite a few, unfortunately."

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