Razorback Watch

FIRST DOWN: Petrino Staying Mum Arkansas has put an emphasis over the past two weeks on correcting its special team mistakes. But coach Bobby Petrino isn't about to give anything away.

Petrino didn't want to say who will be his primary punt returner when Arkansas hosts No. 23 Georgia at 6:45 p.m. Saturday (ESPN). He has settled on a return man, but he declined to say whether it's sophomore Joe Adams or someone else.

"Yeah, we know who we're going to put in there," Petrino said. "We're just going to wait until we line up and play them."

Adams headed into the season opener against Missouri State as Arkansas' punt returner, but he fumbled the first punt he fielded in the 48-10 win. Junior Jerell Norton then got a chance at returning punts, but he lost two yards on his only return.

Petrino said the Razorbacks have made improvements on special teams during their two weeks to prepare for the Bulldogs, but he's not sure exactly far they've come.

"We'll find out in a hurry because they're good. They're good on special teams," Petrino said of Georgia. "They got experienced guys. They play their starters (on special teams). They put a lot of emphasis on it, so we'll find out real quick how much improvement we have made."


• Arkansas coaches strive to have perfect Thursday practices. And while the defense looked sharp, Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino acknowledged there were a few substitution problems on offense and a dropped football.

"I think we had one ball hit the ground," Petrino said. "There's a lot of Thursdays where no balls hit the ground."

• Georgia coach Mark Richt said running back Caleb King is likely to make his season debut at Arkansas after missing the first two games because of a pulled hamstring. Richt said the sophomore is "very probable" for Saturday.

• Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette said he hopes the presence of ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews won't be a distraction on Saturday night, but that could be harder than it sounds.

"I'm going to have to keep my eyes focused on the field and not her," Bequette said.

INSIDE SCOOP: Sheppard Faces Friends

Arkansas defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard can't wait to face No. 23 Georgia, in part because it's a chance for him to see two longtime friends.

Sheppard has been friends with Georgia linebackers Darryl Gamble and Nick Williams since they were teammates at Bainbridge (Ga.) High. But unlike his former classmates, Sheppard wasn't recruited by the Bulldogs.

"There's a lot of extra oomph on this game right here," Sheppard said. "I'm from Georgia, it's my home state. I got a lot of friends that play on the Georgia Bulldogs, so I'm definitely pumped up for it."

Sheppard said he grew up wanting to play for the Bulldogs like "every young man in Georgia." But Georgia coach Mark Richt didn't offer the defensive tackle a scholarship.

"I'm still always going to be a citizen of the state," Sheppard said. "But I'm a Hog at heart."

So has there been any trash-talking going on between Sheppard and his Bulldog friends?

"I talk to them from time to time, but we haven't stayed in touch over the last two weeks," Sheppard said. "I don't know if that's been on purpose or not, so I'll talk to them after the game."

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