"Some of our players stepped up and some of them got some experience," he said. "Our main focus is that we are going to get ready for South Carolina."
"We did in our meetings, but not on the field," he said. "We watched South Carolina video (last week)."
Petrino thinks the Hogs will be in good shape physically for the South Carolina game, but didn't have the final answer on some of the walking wounded.
Cornerback Ramon Broadway ran under supervision of trainers Sunday night and would try to work with the team on Monday night. His status would be determined later in the week. Broadway didn't play against EMU.
Running back Michael Smith also appears to be improved after missing last week's game. Petrino said he was encouraged about Smith's prospects this week.
"We'll see what happens," Petrino said of Smith. "He was fine Sunday."
Cornerback Andru Stewart did not practice or play last week because of a suspension related to academics.
"He'll be evaluated daily," Petrino said of Stewart. "I like him as a football player, but he has to do everything required (in academics), too."
Briton Forrester earned the right to punt with his performance last week in practice, moving ahead of Dylan Breeding. However, Petrino said they would be graded again this week since Forrester only punted once in the game. He said, "I'm glad we only punted once, but it was hard to tell much on him with just one. He didn't get a lot of work."
The disappointment from the EMU game was the big plays given up by the defense in the second half.
"That's a disappointment for sure," Petrino said. "We busted some coverages major league. A couple were due to inexperience, but one of them was by a veteran.
"They were working the clock like North Carolina basketball, then running the ball. Everyone wanted to come up and make the tackle. We just completely turned some loose."
The challenge this week will be to protect the quarterback against a complex South Carolina defense coached by Ellis Johnson, briefly the UA defensive coordinator under Petrino. He was at Arkansas a matter of days before taking a job with Steve Spurrier at USC where he could add to his pension days from his early years of coaching.
"He's a real good coach," Petrino said of Johnson. "He does a good job with scheme. He does a good job moving his front and he'll run a lot of different fronts, three and four. He'll move his secondary up to the line. It's a real good challenge for us."
|Photo by: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images|
|Petrino said Eric Norwood and South Carolina's defense is different from any the Hogs have faced all year.|
"It would have been really hard for him not to take that job," Petrino said. "He did what was best for his retirement and his family. I have no ill feelings. I understood it."
South Carolina's defense is different than anything the Hogs have faced this year.
"They are unique," Petrino said. "And, that is particularly true of their defense. They run all kinds of schemes, four down, three down, double eagle with the linebackers. They blitz the safeties. They blitz the linebackers and it's all pretty wild."
What does Petrino remember about last year's South Carolina game aside from the fact the Hogs lost?
"The fourth quarter sticks in my mind," he said. "I remember when we went to the no huddle, we swept right down the field with completions. I also remember that we never really ran the ball effectively except right after halftime. We came out in the third quarter and had a good plan with our play-action and that's when we are at our best, when we are mixing things in.
"I also remember that our defense couldn't stop them from running the ball in the fourth quarter when we needed to."
Petrino called this week's matchup with South Carolina "a must win. It's a big game for our program. It's much like the A&M and Auburn game. We have to have great preparation."