Razorback Watch

FIRST DOWN: Stewart Barred From Practice While cornerback Andru Stewart is listed as a starter on Arkansas' depth chart, he has been barred from practice this week because of academic issues.

The junior's status for Saturday's game against winless Eastern Michigan remains uncertain, but it doesn't look promising since he has been held out of the past two days of practice.

"Andru has not met academic expectations we have for our players," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Wednesday in a statement released through the university. "He'll be in study hall this week while we practice."

Junior Rudell Crim and freshman David Gordon worked as the first-team cornerbacks in practice Wednesday. Crim didn't finish last week's 30-17 loss at Ole Miss because of a hip pointer, but Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said the junior is "fine."

Petrino said earlier this week that backup cornerback Ramon Broadway would miss Saturday's game with a hamstring injury.

Robinson, meanwhile, didn't want to discuss Stewart's situation following practice. He refused to comment when asked if the cornerback would be available to play against Eastern Michigan.

Stewart has started the past four games.

"(I) really don't want to talk about anything other than that's an in-house matter, and we'll talk about the guys we have that are out there practicing," Robinson said.


• Arkansas backup quarterback Tyler Wilson hasn't played in a game since fumbling the final snap in a 47-19 win over Texas A&M in the Southwest Classic on Oct. 3.

But with the Razorbacks entering Saturday's homecoming game against Eastern Michigan as heavy favorites, Wilson could get significant playing time if starter Ryan Mallett builds a big lead early on.

"I'm just going to prepare myself to be ready at all times Saturday that way I can execute the offense when I get in there," Wilson said.

• With Arkansas' secondary thin because of injuries and other issues, junior Jerell Norton has been moved from safety to cornerback, where he started six games in 2007. Robinson said Norton was "very willing" to change positions.

• Petrino has the distinction of being one of three Southeastern Conference coaches reprimanded by the league over the past two weeks for criticizing officials.

Petrino was reprimanded on Oct. 22 for criticizing the officials who worked Arkansas' 23-20 loss at top-ranked Florida on his TV show. Tennessee's Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen were reprimanded on Monday.

"I tried to do as good as I could with my press conferences. Obviously, I made a mistake and something I'm not very proud of," Petrino said Wednesday on an SEC coaches teleconference. "That's something I take very serious. ... I will make sure it doesn't happen again."


Eastern Michigan coach Ron English is no stranger when it comes to Mallett. In fact, English spent a year watching the strong-armed quarterback in practice.

English was Michigan's defensive coordinator in 2007, when Mallett was a freshman who started three games for the Wolverines. Mallett transferred to Arkansas after the season, and English spent 2008 at Louisville before getting the Eastern Michigan head coaching job.

"Coach English, he's a really good person and he's a great coach. It's going to be good to see him," Mallett said. "I haven't seen him in awhile, but we're going to try to go kick their butts."

Saturday will mark the second time this season that Mallett has faced a coach who he was with during his one year in Ann Arbor. He suffered a close loss to Florida quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who served as Mallett's quarterbacks coach at Michigan.

"(Mallett) looks like he's matured a bit. We had to throw him in the fire as a true freshman, and he really wasn't ready for that," English said. "But he could always throw the football. He could be accurate and throw it a long ways."

So will English's inside knowledge of Mallett benefit Eastern Michigan this weekend?

"It's been awhile," Mallett said. "A lot of things have changed."

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