Fixing The Running Game

Arkansas gained 435 yards of total offense in last Saturday's 30-23 win over Tulsa, but only 50 of those yards came on the ground.

Not surprisingly, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Monday that he'd like to see more balance in the offense.

"We had some breakdowns in our running game," Petrino said. "Some of that was we've got new guys in there (on the offensive line)."

Despite having the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher in junior Michael Smith, the Razorbacks were unable to establish the run against the Golden Hurricane.

Smith, who ranks ninth in the nation with an average of 123.4 yards per game, finished with only 67 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries. He averaged just 2.9 yards per game, forcing Petrino to abandon the running game against Tulsa.

Petrino said some of the problems were the result of Arkansas having to rely on several backups on the offensive line.

Sophomore DeMarcus Love filled in for redshirt freshman Grant Cook at offensive guard, and junior Michael Aguirre started at offensive tackle in place of sophomore Ray Dominguez.

"We missed Dominguez in there. We missed Cook in there a little bit," Petrino said. "That did show up in the running game."

Injured Hogs

Injuries have taken a toll on Arkansas' secondary, and there is a chance that safety Jerico Nelson might be unavailable for Saturday's game at South Carolina because of a knee injury.

"His status is still up in the air right now," Petrino said.

Nelson started last Saturday's game against Tulsa at weakside linebacker, recording three tackles before suffering the knee injury.

Meanwhile, Petrino said he's not sure if Cook and defensive end Adrian Davis will be able to return after each missed last week's game because of a knee injury.

Petrino said he'd have a better idea about the status of Davis and Cook after they took part in a work out with several other injured players on Monday afternoon.

SEC Worthy

Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick was named the SEC's offensive player of the week after he passed for a career-high 385 yards against Tulsa.

With the running game never able to get into a rhythm, Dick was forced to attempt 38 passes and completed 25 to record his third 300-yard passing performance of the season.

"It's a good honor anytime you get SEC player of the week," said Dick, who threw for one touchdown and had one interception against Tulsa.

His 385 yards was two shy of tying the Arkansas single-game record of 387 yards passing set by Clint Stoerner in a 31-21 loss to LSU in 1997.

On Pay Per View

Arkansas fans will get a chance to watch Saturday's game at South Carolina after all.

Arkansas announced Monday that the game will be available on pay per view. ESPN GamePlan will televise the game in Arkansas, and viewers must contact their local cable providers to order the ESPN GamePlan package.

Dunking Doughnuts

Petrino was asked if it would be strange facing South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, who spent 20 days as Arkansas' defensive coordinator last January before leaving to join Steve Spurrier's staff with the Gamecocks.

"It's a little bit odd. It's not going to be a big difference in our preparation or anything. He was here for a cup of coffee and a doughnut," Petrino said of Johnson. "He had a chance to go home and be in a place where he grew up and where his wife's family is from. Certainly it's something that I understood."

Arkansas safety Matt Harris and middle linebacker Wendel Davis said neither of them got a chance to meet Johnson during his brief stint on Petrino's staff.

Petrino On Fulmer

Petrino has run into Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer several times during his first season in the SEC.

And with Monday's news that Fulmer would step down as the Volunteers' coach at the end of the season, Petrino offered a few kind words for the soon-to-be former coach.

"You know, I've been around Phil a few times. Great guy. I've always been very impressed," Petrino said. "I ran into him a bunch recruiting. I really don't think I should have any comments until he speaks."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories