2012 College Football: Arkansas Razorback News and Notes Wednesday Practice


Sep 8, 2012; Little Rock, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Allen (10) looks to pass against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at War Memorial Stadium. Warhawks defeated the Razorbacks 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

Fayetteville, Ark. – News from Wednesday’s practice rings a positive tone as defensive coordinator Paul Haynes described practice as “upbeat and high tempo” as the Arkansas Razorbacks prepare for the arrival of No. 1 Alabama.

All eyes were on the defense Wednesday with several Razorback players excited about playing against Alabama’s highly touted offensive line.

Junior defensive tackle Robert Thomas (Muskogee, OK) said, “We have the mindset that we are ready to go. There is no doubt that we (the defensive line) are still the strength of the team. We just have to go out and play our game.”

Sophomore defensive end Trey Flowers added, “You step up as a man. You either are going to get run over or you are going to stop the run.”

On what to expect from Alabama’s offense on Saturday Haynes said, “It’s tough, physical, pounding, smash mouth football. They do spread you out. We have to do a good job of communicating because they work you with formations and that’s when they get big plays.”

Perhaps Arkansas’ biggest key to an upset victory over Alabama is the health status for senior starting quarterback Tyler Wilson. Wilson has not been cleared to play by team doctors yet, but he took part in practice on Wednesday.

If Wilson is not cleared to play on Saturday redshirt freshman Brandon Allen will start with Brandon Mitchell backing him up. Allen has reportedly received 55 percent of the snaps in practice this week with Mitchell taking the other 45 percent.

Paul Haynes noted that Wilson looked good in practice and threw the ball well.

Arkansas head coach John L. Smith is optimistic about Wilson’s availability to play on Saturday.

Haynes told the media after Arkansas’ loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday that he was going to scale back the defense. The Razorback front four has been the lone bright spot for the Arkansas defense in the first two games of the season and will have to make life easier on the Razorback secondary against Bama. Saturday the Hogs will be without their best cover corner, sophomore Tevin Mitchell.

Mitchell had gallbladder surgery on Tuesday, unrelated to the helmet to helmet hit he took during the game against ULM last Saturday. The timetable for his return has not been set.

In Mitchell’s absence Kaelon Kelleybrew will start at one cornerback spot with true freshman Will Hines (Waco, TX) starting at the other side. Darius Winston will back up Kelleybrew and redshirt freshman Davyon McKinney (Forrest City, Ark.) will run second unit behind Hines.