Practice Report

FIRST DOWN: Robinson Curious About Defense Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson doesn't want his defense to give up any big plays. But it happens. And if it does against No. 23 Georgia on Saturday night, Robinson is curious about how the group will react.

"If we get punched in the mouth it will be interesting to see how we respond," Robinson said. "We got punched in the mouth early last year and we didn't respond very well."

Robinson was referring to Arkansas' Southeastern Conference opener against Alabama, when running back Glen Coffee broke free for an 87-yard touchdown. It gave Alabama a 14-0 lead in the first quarter of its 49-14 win, starting a three-game skid in which Arkansas surrendered 139 points.

Defensive end Jake Bequette said the defense believes it is much more capable of limiting big plays this season.

"That's the trademark of a good defense, being able to say, ‘Next play, Next play,' no matter what happens," Bequette said. "I think that we gave up a couple big plays against Missouri State, but we were able to rally around ourselves and shut them out in the second half."

One big key Saturday, Robinson said, will be limiting the Bulldogs' rushing attack. Arkansas surrendered 170.8 rushing yards a game last season, struggling to stop opponents.

The Razorbacks limited Missouri State to 82 rushing yards in the opener, but Robinson said he'll learn more against Georgia.

"We fit our gaps a lot better, but I still don't think you can take that first game as a barometer yet," he said. "This game is a benchmark for us to find out if we can do that or not."


• Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino was asked Wednesday what he thought the atmosphere would be like in Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday night. His answer: Wild.

"I think it will be great," Petrino said. "I think it will be a wild crowd; should be loud. We have to do our part to make sure that we keep the crowd in it and gain a home-field advantage."

• Safety Elton Ford said he is ready to play after missing the opener with a sprained ankle. However, Robinson didn't give any indication whether the sophomore will play Saturday.

"If they're out there dressed, they're practicing," Robinson said. "So they're getting reps. It's a matter of what goes on in the game whether they play or not. That's all of them."

• Robinson was asked Wednesday if he knew anyone on Georgia coach Mark Richt's staff.

"I have no idea who they are," he said. "I only know coach Richt. I don't know him, I just know him by name. I don't know who those guys are. They don't know who the hell I am."

• Former Arkansas safety Kenoy Kennedy will serve as honorary captain for Saturday's game. Kennedy recorded 287 tackles between 1996-99. He played in the NFL for eight seasons with the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions.

INSIDE SCOOP: Early SEC Returns Profitable

Arkansas' kickoff return team showed its potential when running back Dennis Johnson scored on a 91-yard return against Missouri State. But Arkansas isn't the only Southeastern Conference team with a kickoff return for a touchdown under its belt so far this season.

Georgia struck in the 41-37 win against South Carolina when cornerback Brandon Boykin notched a 100-yarder to tie the game at 7. It was the longest return in school history and the Bulldogs' biggest scoring play in Sanford Stadium — ever.

Boykin finished with 187 kick return yards, the second-most in school history for a single game. Teammate Branden Smith added a 48-yard return and Georgia averaged 36 yards on seven returns.

Richt said it was an impressive night for his kick return team, especially after it struggled in the opener.

"If I was playing us Game 2, I wouldn't have thought much about our kickoff return team at all," Richt said. "Because there were just a bunch of puppies on there and they looked like it at Oklahoma State. They all decided to stick their hat on somebody and we got some things done."

The performance caught Petrino's attention. He said Arkansas' kickoff coverage team is facing a big challenge.

"Special teams played a big part in that game," Petrino said Monday. "We've got to concentrate and do our job."

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