Arkansas looks to exit this weekend with a 2-1 record. Most believed that would be the case when the schedule opened with Jacksonville State, Louisiana-Monroe and Alabama. But now the Razorbacks will have to pull off a stunner to achieve that mark.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
You know, like last week, when the Warhawks left Little Rock with a shocking overtime triumph as a five-touchdown underdog.
The Razorbacks aim is two-fold this week: Prepare for the nations top-ranked team as the Crimson Tide visits Fayetteville, and somehow not let last weekends crushing loss hang over the program throughout game prep.
Its critical for us mentally to bounce back, coach John L. Smith said. Everybody has a tendency to drop their chin to the ground and carry it through the week. We as coaches have to get those chins off the ground.
The process started Sunday, when Smith reminded the team that the seasons larger goals remained attainable. Arkansas cant become a conference champion without winning the division, and Alabama is the opponent in the league opener.
Thats exactly what we tried to point out, coming back on Sunday, Smith said. Things havent changed. Were still undefeated in the league. Lets carry on, to the practice field, and get better.
There are so many places improvement can happen. The Razorbacks were outgained by their Sun Belt opponent 550-337. The Warhawks nearly doubled Arkansas possession time. Still, Arkansas led by three touchdowns in the third quarter.
The Razorbacks played the second half and overtime without quarterback Tyler Wilson, who took a blow to the head. Smith said Wednesday he was more optimistic about Wilsons chances of playing against Alabama than he was earlier in the week. But it will be the teams medical personnel that make the call.
Brandon Allen, a redshirt freshman who threw the scoring pass that gave Arkansas a 28-7 lead against the Warhawks, has been practicing as the starter this week. Brandon Mitchell, Wilsons backup last season who moved to wide receiver this season, is getting practice snaps as well.
No matter whos at quarterback, the task will be difficult. But Smith wants only believers on the sideline this week.
Were going to practice hard this week, and if youre not part of this and youre not totally in the boat, then get the heck out of here, Smith said. Its going to take renewed energy from all of us. If you dont have that, you really dont need to show up. You can watch from the stands if you like.
That goes for Arkansas fans, too.
Dont be jumping off the bandwagon, Smith said. Get here and support these guys.