Playing the Mississippi State Bulldogs at their Scott Field in

Starkville always creates causes for Arkansas concern.

Playing the Mississippi State Bulldogs at their Scott Field in
Starkville always creates causes for Arkansas concern.

However cowbells  aren’t among them, at least not to Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino.

Asked if he had prepared his Razorbacks for the noise of the cowbells that
Mississippi State fans will ring in the stands, Petrino replied, “No. We didn’t do
that.  We’ve had times we put noise in there. I’ve never  really figured out if that
 was the best thing to do or not  good. One year we did it and felt it distracted us
and that we did not practice as well as we need to. We did not do it this year.”

Other than the cowbells’ first-sound uniqueness, Razorbacks who last played in
Starkville seem to remember losing that game, 31-28 in 2008 to Mississippi State way
more than they remember the cowbells.

What they did remember they said did not affect their play.

“You don’t really hear many cowbells or nothing like that in other stadiums,”
Arkansas fifth-year senior offensive tackle DeMarcus Love said. “I guess that’s the
thing they do in Starkville. it’s just a unique sound. it’s not like anything else
but you hear it maybe a snap or two.”

Then Love says players tune it out like they tune out noise at other stadiums.
“It’s not that bad man,” Love said, “not that bad.”

Most importantly, after the Hogs wrapped up Fayetteville preparations with
Thursday’s practice, his team has prepared well, Petrino said.

“It was a good week,” Petrino said. “Our guys are excited. We are certainly focused.
I think we have executed well and have a good game plan. We know it’s going to be a
good battle. They are a very good football team. Very good defense and can really
run the ball. So we are ready for the mental part of being in a very tough battle.”

Asked Thursday about freshman defensive nose tackle Byran Jones of Junction City,
Petrino reiterated defensive coordinator Willy Robinson’s Wednesday assertion that
Jones will play in Starkville.

Jones missed victories the past two weeks over South Carolina and Texas-El Paso
after spraining an ankle during the Oct. 30 victory over Vanderbilt.

“Byran is doing good,” Petrino said.  “He has practiced all three days and gotten
better each day. He’s ready to go.”
Petrino also was asked about  D.D. Jones, the sophomore defensive tackle from
Bastrop, La. whose brother, Deddrick, is one of three Southern Mississippi football
players shot outside a nightclub last Saturday night  in Hattiesburg, Miss.
“I think D.D. has handled it pretty well,” Petrino said,  and all indications from
D.D.’s mom is his brother is going to be OK.
I found out Sunday and immediately got hold of D.D.  He had already visited with his
mom. We talked about it in our team meeting Monday.”

D.D. Jones remained in Fayetteville and practiced all week.
“He’s doing good,” Petrino said.

After a concussion versus Auburn and a shoulder injury against Ole Miss prevented
Ryan Mallett from completing two straight games, Mallett has played hale and hearty
and super effectively in Razorbacks triumphs over Vanderbilt, South Carolina and
UTEP.

“Ryan is really healthy right now,” Petrino said Thursday.
He went about the last three weeks to a month where he hasn’t been hit a lot. He’s
running better than he has all year long and he’s feeling good.”

Has Arkansas’ ramped up running game, fueled by running back Knile Davis, helped
Mallett’s health.

“The running game,” Petrino replied,  “and our over-all passing game, the protection
and his decision-making.  The ball coming out and the receivers getting open at the
right time. Our timing has been a lot better. When you get the ball out of your hand
on time, you usually don’t get hit.”