Back on the practice field was senior quarterback Daniel Cobb, who is expected to be 100 percent for the game. Offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino said following the practice that if Cobb is healthy he'll get the start this weekend ahead of sophomore Jason Campbell.
"Both Daniel and Jason split the reps," Petrino noted. "If Daniel is ready to go he'll be the starter. I thought he looked pretty good early in practice. He did a good job. I thought he got a little bit fatigued as practice went on. Jason did good out there, too. It's not something where it is competition. It's just a matter of health."
If that is the case then look for number 16 under center Saturday against Arkansas. Back on the field and throwing the ball well, the senior said he's ready to go and wasn't bothered at all by the ankle on Sunday.
"It felt good today," Cobb said of his ankle. "It felt good throwing out there and running around. It felt good to finally get back in the huddle and take some snaps after watching for three days. I was a little rusty with a whole week off with the timing, but I felt for the most part I hit the receivers I needed to hit and had a good practice."
Center Ben Nowland has been solid for Coach Hugh Nall on the offensive line this season. He has graded out the highest of any lineman for three straight games capped off by a 90 percent score against Syracuse.
Defensive tackle Spencer Johnson appeared to be running better on his injured ankle and should be in better shape for Saturday's game than he was vs. Syracuse. The same is true of defensive end Reggie Torbor, whose speed will be much needed for the Tigers Saturday night against the option attack of the Hogs. Other than a few minor injuries that are still receiving treatment, the Tigers are relatively healthy heading into a very tough stretch of four straight SEC games.
"It went good," Petrino said of the Sunday practice in which Auburn focused on the Razorbacks in scout team situations. "I thought the players came back excited and showed good energy and good enthusiasm. I think they know this is a big game for us so I think they worked pretty hard."
Although the Hogs average just 176.5 passing yards per game with seven touchdowns through the air, this will be one of the toughest matchups for the Auburn secondary because of the versatility of Arkansas quarterback Matt Jones. A tough runner who puts pressure on a defense with his ability to run the ball, as evidenced by his 249 yards rushing this season, Jones makes it especially difficult for the safeties in the game. With responsibilities against the run on the option but also against the pass because of receivers Richard Smith and George Wilson, senior free safety Travaris Robinson said that this will be a big all-around challenge for the secondary this week.
"He puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us," Robinson said. "We have to watch him because he's a great athlete. Not only can he beat us with his arm, but he can beat us with his feet. Everybody just has to play fundamental football. We have to stay in our lanes and do the things we have been coached to do. We haven't seen a quarterback that can do the things he can do so the coaches have just reiterated some things. Now we just have to polish up and get ready."
Defensive tackle Tommy (T.J.) Jackson works on his tackling as Coach Terry Price looks on. Jackson has become a major contributor for the Tigers this season as a true freshman.
The Tigers will be looking for some redemption Saturday afternoon in addition to remaining in the lead in the SEC West. Last season the Tigers rolled into Fayetteville only to be dismissed in embarrassing fashion despite dominating the statistics against the Razorbacks for a good part of the game. Robinson said this is a game Auburn has been looking forward to for quite a while.
"Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) has been walking around with the shirt on," Robinson said. "That just gives us a constant reminder. We've been thinking about it all year long. That gives us a constant reminder. We know this guy is capable of beating us because he's done it before. We're not taking anything for granted. They are a great football team and I know they are hungry for a victory. We just have to come out here and deny them in Jordan-Hare, in our house. They've beaten us the last two times at their place so I guess we need to even the score."
Auburn will take Monday off in its normal routine before returning to the practice fields for workouts Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday the team will have a short walk-through before heading out of town for the night. Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and can be seen on Jefferson Pilot Sports.