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Hogs licking "chops" to get at UGA


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FAYETTEVILLE — Last year Bobby Petrino wouldn’t have dared say he prepared for Arkansas’ seasonopener practicing beyond it.

As the Razorbacks’ first-year coach last year, Petrino had two supposed nonconference cupcakes before the first SEC game.

Those cupcakes nearly cooked the Hogs. Arkansas was lucky to escape Western Illinois, 28-24 in Fayetteville and Louisiana-Monroe, 28-27 in Little Rock.

Petrino has started his second season at the Hog helm with a better team, nearly 100 percent more familiar with him and he with them than in 2008. So, yes, he said, even with this bye-week upcoming, the Razorbacks had done some advance preseason prepping for their Sept. 19 SEC opener with Georgia in Fayetteville while simultaneously prepping for last Saturday night’s 48-10 season-opening rout of the lower division Missouri State University Bears.

“I was happy with the maturityour team showed,” Petrino said in Saturday’s postgame at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. “Because we practiced a lot in camp for Georgia and knew we had to come down here and take care of business.”

It ought to be an interesting situational contrast when the Georgia Bulldogs come to Reynolds Razorback Stadium for the Sept. 19 ESPN televised 6:45 p.m. SEC clash.

Georgia will have played two tough games. Last Saturday, the Bulldogs lost 24-10 to ninthranked Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla.

This Saturday for its SEC opener, Georgia hosts South Carolina, a 7-3 nonconference winner last Thursday at North Carolina State.

It’s conceivable the Bulldogs, ranked 19th by the AP to start the season, could be 0-2 upon Fayetteville arrival.

Even should that 0-2 prove true, they will arrive thoroughly tested and in game rhythm.

The Hogs won’t. Arkansas would be better served if its bye-week was later to repair and refresh well into the 12-game grind.

But the Hogs do have some advantages with an extra week to work off their first-game plusses and minuses going into perhaps this season’s most pivotal game.

It’s not only the Hogs’ SEC opener, but given a rugged road SEC slate of at Alabama, at Florida, at Ole Miss and at LSU, seems a near must-win for Arkansas to achieve a winning SEC campaign.

“Whatever cards you’re dealt,” Arkansas offensive coordinator/ receivers coach Paul Petrino said post-Missouri State, “that’s what you deal with. It gives us twoweeks to get ready for Georgia, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

They will start the SEC season feeling SEC worthy.

A feeling they acknowledge now was hard to feel last year knowing they could have lost to Western Illinois and Western Illinois.

“That,” Arkansas senior defensive tackle team captain Malcolm Sheppard said after the 48-10 beating of the Bears, “is what an SEC team is supposed to do to a team like that. We weren’t an SEC team last year. That shows definite improvement on our part.”

Arkansas went 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the SEC last year and never really felt good about itself postgame until upsetting LSU, 31-30 in the season finale.

Now the defense feels better holding an opponent to a record low 10 points for the Petrino era. The offense set an Arkansas single game passing record 447 yards. And the special teamskick-started especially well with a fatal blow to the Bears’ bread basket. Arkansas sophomore Dennis Johnson returned the opening kickoff for a 91-yard touchdown.

Though outclassed stepping up in class against Arkansas, the Bears have a big-time tight end, NFL-scouted Clay Harbor, a good quarterback, Cody Kirby of Rogers, and a geared to stop the run defense that could have given Missouri State a hang around with a fourth-quarter underdog’s chance if the Hogs slopped around early.

Johnson returned the underdogs’ chance to no chance.

“That kickoff return was demoralizing,” Terry Allen, the Missouri State coach and former Kansas coach, said. “It really deflates you. College football is all about momentum, and we started without momentum.”

Arkansas started 2009 with somuch momentum that Bobby Petrino believed the Hogs could sustain through Missouri State while working on Georgia.

Now he must keep up the good work while Georgia plays.

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i will root for any team against arkansas.. the stuff i have heard about petrino is enough for me to know the guy is a tool and i hope he loses every game.. i can't stand him..

regarding the game for those who think arkansas has advantage think again.. they will have had just 1 game before us. they haven't been tested and they haven't been able to have much game action.. that is not a good thing for a team..

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Very well could be 0-3 after that game but if Richt can get his defense to play much better it sure would help beat USC and give them some confidence which I think the lack right now with most predicting them to have a bad year. Cox is to start and with his injury I'm not really excited about that but maybe he's better now.

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Very well could be 0-3 after that game but if Richt can get his defense to play much better it sure would help beat USC and give them some confidence which I think the lack right now with most predicting them to have a bad year. Cox is to start and with his injury I'm not really excited about that but maybe he's better now.

they are resting him in the middle of the week so he doesn't make his arm injury worst..it hurts him because he won't get the reps he needs to in order to stay sharp.. frankly he shouldn't be starting, but since cmr wants him to be the guy let's hope the rest helps.

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GA Defense is better than ark

Ark. Offense is better than ga. why? far superior QB; the most important position on the field. we now have a legit passing game to go with our always tough run game.

how is the 2nd thing a fact? How many games has mallet actually played? I can say he has a lot more potential than Logan Gray, but since neither has shown anything it's hardly a fact.

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I think this might be the one game where EVERYONE on this board wants UGA to win and win big.

I'll tell you what. Georgia could beat us by 4 Td's and dance on the sidelines during the game and I would still pull hard for them to beat Arkansas. I honestly hated it when Atlanta hired Petrino. In my mind I knew it was a terrible mistake. Petrino only did two good things after he got here. One, was to bring Redman in as a QB. Two was, he quit. He's always looked a little slimy to me and I enjoy hearing that he's lost when it happens.

That being said, I do think the guy is a very good college coach and he will almost certainly have the hog's contending sooner rather than later. Then he'll leave in the middle of the night to go coach Colorado.

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