Razorback Watch

FIRST DOWN: Stewart Not Playing Saturday Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Thursday that there will likely be some noticeable changes to his starting lineup for Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan.

Cornerback Andru Stewart is one starter who's already been demoted. Petrino said the junior, who has been dealing with academic issues, won't play this weekend.

"Andru will not play in the game," Petrino said.

Stewart started the previous four games, and he recorded his first career interception in the second half of last week's 30-17 loss at Ole Miss.

But the cornerback was held out of practice this week because he "has not met academic expectations we have for our players," Petrino said a statement released Wednesday.

Several other players could lose their starting jobs for Saturday's homecoming game. But Petrino said he couldn't give specifics until after he reviewed footage from Thursday's practice.

"We've graded every play on effort, and we're going to start guys that gave the best effort in practice," Petrino said. "You'll probably see some different starters out there than you saw last time out simply because we graded every play on effort. And whoever had the best effort grades at the end of the week starts the week."


• Heavy rain forced the Razorbacks to practice inside their indoor facility on Thursday. On their way back to the locker room, several players joked around by sliding across the massive pools of water that collected inside Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

• Even after back-to-back losses, Petrino showed after practice that he's still able to appreciate the small things in life.

"Well, the best part of the day was that someone canceled their 11:30 meeting with me, so I was able to sneak out and get a haircut," Petrino said. "So I got that going for me."

• Former Arkansas kicker Bruce Lahay will serve as the honorary captain for Saturday's game. Named a first-team All-American in 1981, Lahay averaged 38.7 yards per punt during his career and made 79.2 percent of his field-goal attempts (19-of-24).

INSIDE SCOOP: Avoiding Appalachian State

Arkansas is considered a 35-point favorite for Saturday's game against winless Eastern Michigan, but quarterback Ryan Mallett understands the danger in overlooking a heavy underdog.

After all, Mallett was on the sidelines for perhaps the biggest upset in recent memory, when Appalachian State shocked fifth-ranked Michigan 34-32 on Sept. 1, 2007. That was the first collegiate game for Mallett, who at the time was a backup quarterback for the Wolverines.

"You can't take anybody lightly. I know that first-hand from my first college game," Mallett said. "You can't take anybody lightly because anybody can sneak up on you on any day."

Since 2007, Appalachian State's upset of Michigan has been used as a cautionary tale for teams preparing to face what should be an easy opponent. Coincidentally, Eastern Michigan coach Ron English was the Wolverines' defensive coordinator for that game.

When asked if he worries about a repeat of the Appalachian State win over Michigan in a game like this, Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said, "Shoot yeah."

"You go into the game with a little swagger always. You go into the game with confidence and stuff like that, but there's always a little fear about the fact that you got to play your best," Robinson said. "We talk each week, it's not a matter who you're playing; it's how we play. And that's where the greatest concern is."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories