Razorbacks Watch

FIRST DOWN: Hogs Hope To Avoid Another Scare As they prepare for Saturday's game against Missouri State, Arkansas coaches and players haven't forgotten about the last time they opened a season against a Missouri Valley Conference opponent.

It was a year ago.

The Razorbacks rallied from a 10-point deficit with less than 11 minutes remaining, and former quarterback Casey Dick scored the go-ahead touchdown in a 28-24 win with a 4-yard run with 1:49 left.

"No one wants a repeat performance of what happened last year," Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette said. "We're miles ahead of where we were last year as a team, but still that kind of game will leave an impression in your mind for a long time."

The near upset set the wrong tone for Bobby Petrino's first season at Arkansas. The Razorbacks struggled the following week against Louisiana-Monroe, dropped five of their next six games and failed to become bowl eligible.

However, when Petrino kicks off his second season, he'll have several offensive starters who were forced to sit out last year's scare against Western Illinois. Running back Michael Smith was suspended for the 2008 season opener, and quarterback Ryan Mallett was ineligible after transferring from Michigan.

"You could kind of tell in the first game (a year ago) we weren't all in sync with each other and everybody didn't know what everybody else was going to do. Now we do," Mallett said. "... I think you're going to see a different football team than the first game last year."



TWO-MINUTE DRILL

• Wide receiver Joe Adams continued to practice, showing that the right hamstring injury that sidelined him toward the end of last week is improving. "It's feeling better," Adams said. "I'm ready now."

• Junior Briton Forester said Arkansas coaches have told him that he'll be the first punter to take the field in Saturday's season opener. Forester was competing with freshman Dylan Breeding for the starting job. "It feels great to come out and compete and contribute to the team," Forester said.

• Petrino said senior Matt Harris regained his starting free safety spot with a strong performance in Friday's mock game, recording around 10 solo tackles.

• Defensive tackle Lavunce Askew was carted off the field toward the end of practice Tuesday, but it was uncertain if he was injured. He was seen laughing on the way to the locker room.



INSIDE SCOOP: Two-Back Setup

When Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino released his opening-week depth chart on Monday, many observers were taken aback by where sophomore De'Anthony Curtis was listed.

The 5-foot-9, 215-pound tailback was penciled in as Arkansas' backup fullback, behind starter Van Stumon.

Petrino insisted Tuesday that Curtis hasn't been moved to fullback, but instead will be used in a two-tailback set that has him working at fullback.

"It's what we call out-personnel, where you put two tailbacks in the game (at the same time)," Petrino said. "(Curtis) can block there. He can catch a lot of passes there. He runs, gets the ball running from that position."

Curtis said the Razorbacks had the out-personnel package in their offense last season, and the set will allow him to share the backfield at times with either starting running back Michael Smith or someone else.

"There's a lot of backs, so there's a lot more competition," Curtis said. "You've got to see the field some of the time, so you might have to play another position to see the field."

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