Will Herring, who will be starting for the fourth time vs. the Razorbacks, says that games vs. Arkansas are "always physical."
"I don't know what it is about those boys--every time you take the field whether it is on a kickoff return, a punt or a punt return, they have huge, corn-fed, big ol' country boys it seems like," Herring says.
"I don't know what they feed those boys over in Arkansas, but whatever it is they have got some size to them and punch to them whenever they bring it," he adds. "It is going to be a physical game. It is going to be as physical as the LSU game. We know it and we are getting ready for it."
The game matching the 5-0 Tigers and the 3-1 Razorbacks will kick off shortly after 11 a.m. on Saturday. Herring is 3-0 in his starts vs. the Razorbacks. The first three were as a free safety. This year he is playing strongside linebacker.
Herring goes into Saturday's game with 16 solo tackles and 11 assists. He has 3 1/2 tackles for lost yardage and leads the team with his two interceptions.
"I think it has worked out well," Herring says of his move to linebacker. "I am feeling more and more comfortable down in the box. Obviously, it is a totally different position. It is a lot more physical and there are a few more nicks and bruises. Other than that I am making the transition well and I feel a lot more comfortable than I did early on."
Herring leads the Tigers in tackles this year and was the top tackler in 2005 with 69.
The Auburn senior says his team needs to improve defensively in game six after taking a too close for comfort 24-17 victory at South Carolina.
"Our defense played below par last week," Herring says. "I am one of the leaders on the field so in my opinion I didn't do my job last week. We had some different looks, and we made some game-time adjustments, but there was still some confusion out on the field. We are going to get that fixed."
Herring was an ironman last week, going the distance for the Tigers even when the Tigers went to five and six defensive back coverage packages. "We go nickel and dime a lot and a lot of times I will stay in and be the dime extra defensive back," Herring notes. "Playing defensive back and covering guys in the past has definitely helped me in the passing game this year matching up whenever we go man to man."
Arkansas will bring the SEC's top rushing attack to Jordan-Hare Stadium. Herring says he expects the Razorbacks to continually test Auburn on the ground even though Houston Nutt's team hired a new offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, and talked about being a more passing oriented offense.
"They have always been the type of team that is not going to try to trick you," the Auburn senior says. "They are not going to try a whole lot of this and that. They are going to do what they do and do it real well.
"They are a physical group this year just like they have always been. They have a solid offensive line that is very physical and they have very physical running backs. Everybody knows (Darren) McFadden is one of the best backs in the league and they have got a couple of guys back there who can tote the rock. Number 22 (fullback Peyton Hillis) is a solid fullback, a solid blocking back and he is very athletic. When he comes in the game we have got to be aware of screens."
Despite all of the talk about throwing the football with hotshot freshman quarterback Mitch Mustain leading the way, Herring says he is going to be concerned with the Razorback running backs.
"They still like to do what they do," he says. "They are playing Razorback football. They get to it a little differently. They have a few more formations, but at the end of the down a lot of what they are doing is the same in the past. It is up to us to recognize formations and hopefully get an idea of what is coming."