Getting Back To Tackling

Arkansas typically devotes some time during every practice to work on tackling, but that became an even bigger issue following a 34-21 loss at South Carolina on Nov. 8.

The Razorbacks missed several key tackles, allowing the Gamecocks to turn small plays into touchdowns. Arkansas' safeties in particular came up empty on a few costly plays.

Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said the team has spent time over the past two weeks working on tackling drills, but the problem is more mental than physical.

"It hasn't changed," Robinson said. "It's just a matter of carrying over (from practice to the game) and wanting to be the guy, be the hammer, and make sure we are physical with everything we do in all aspects."

While tackling has been focused on in practice, safety Matt Harris said the players don't want to spend too much time thinking about all the missed chances they had against South Carolina.

"We're not putting too much emphasis on that because we wouldn't want to keep remembering that we didn't make a tackle here and there," Harris said. "So we want to go out there and play with a clear mind."

Davis, Ambrose Ready

Arkansas' defense will get a big boost up front Saturday with the return of defensive ends Adrian Davis and Damario Ambrose.

Davis missed the past two games after suffering a sprained knee against Ole Miss. Ambrose, who replaced Davis in the starting lineup against Tulsa, didn't play at South Carolina after hurting his knee against the Golden Hurricane.

"It's kind of like a morale boost," linebacker Jerry Franklin said of the returns. "It gives depth to the D-Line and gives them a good rotation."

Defensive end Jake Bequette said it also will help the Razorbacks combat MSU's physical play.

"They're two very good players," Bequette said. "Having them back is really going to help us."

Big Day Replay?

Mississippi State receiver Jamayel Smith hasn't forgotten about last season's game against Arkansas.

The senior caught 10 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the 45-31 loss in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.

"I really didn't even know that until after the game," Smith said. "Everybody told me. But during the game, I really didn't know I had that many yards. It felt like just another game."

Smith hasn't had much success this year, catching 15 catches for 215 yards and a touchdown in 10 games. So he would love to have another big day against the Hogs, but said he's more concerned about an MSU win. "If the running game is working then let's go with the run," Smith said. "I just want to win. Catches and yards, all that doesn't matter. ...

"I had all those yards and catches last year, but we didn't win. So that really didn't matter."

Petrino For Economic Adviser

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino might be in the minority among college football coaches: He's not in favor of replacing the BCS with a playoff system.

When told Wednesday that President-elect Barack Obama has expressed support for a playoff in college football, Petrino joked, "I think he ought to call us so the head coaches can figure out how to get the price of gas down."

Petrino then gave his reasons for opposing a playoff, saying the season is long enough already and that the BCS has added to the excitement of the game.

Extra Points

• Freshman quarterback Tyler Wilson practiced for the first time in weeks Wednesday. Wilson, who played in two games, was sidelined because of mononucleosis in late October and Petrino said he was out indefinitely. Wilson was Arkansas' No. 2 quarterback before the illness.

• Safety Jerico Nelson (knee), who missed the South Carolina game, was jogging on the sideline Wednesday. His status for Saturday is unknown.

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