Arkansas hopes to push Southern Miss' losing streak to 15 games on Saturday and will have a few players back who didn't play last week.
It appears strong safety Rohan Gaines will miss third second game in a row on Saturday.
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said that junior defensive end Trey Flowers, sophomore linebacker Otha Peters and in addition senior linebacker Jarrett Lake is slated to return after suspension that he served last Saturday.
“Trey Flowers has been with us all week and won't miss a beat,” Bielema said. “Otha Peters will play. I don't know how much from the line of scrimmage he will play depending on how the game flows. We will obviously work him in some on special teams.
“Rohan Gaines I don't think he will be with us. Alan Turner will get his [third] start there. I think he will be a full-go next week. There is a chance for Saturday yet in a limited role. Tight end Austin Tate will go through pregame warm-ups but we won't play him. He's about a week away from contact. At wide receiver, Keon Hatcher will go through pregame and we will make a determination after that if he will play or not.”
Despite the fact Southern Miss hasn't won since a bowl game following the 2011 season, Bielema isn't taking them lightly. Apparently, neither are the players.
“I thought our kids locked in during the course of the week,” Bielema said. “Really, going back to last Sunday I made it a week of talking about us.
“We needed to work on the game plan and the things we didn't do well on Saturday. Today was a very crisp practice for Thursday, probably the best of the year for us.”
Southern Miss has been hampered by turnovers during the first two games. They have surrendered the ball 10 times and Bielema is hoping that is a trend that continues.
“Turnovers are obviously created, but they can obviously be given,” Bielema said. “Sometimes people throw up a ball they shouldn't and you get a turnover. A lot of times a guy will put the ball on the ground when they have loose-ball security.
“As long as I have been in this business you go through a couple of games where you are on a dry spell and all of a sudden it's like you hit a pot of gold. We preach tackling the football.”
Arkansas got two takeaways in the opener against Louisiana, but got none against Samford.
“I didn't see many opportunities last week,” Bielema said. “There wasn't any dropped picks to cause alarm there. We can do a better swipe at the ball at times. I think the quarterback has loose-ball security at times. We have definitely put an emphasis on it so we'll see if it comes through on Saturday.”
In the opener, Arkansas almost exclusively with the nickel package on defense. Last week, they basically went with the base defense. Bielema isn't tipping his hand on what to expect this week.
“I think it could be a mixed bag,” Bielema said. “We will get all our personnel groupings in there.
“For what they do from the first two games is throw the ball predominantly. But we've got to expect everything. Especially last week some success with the inside running game on traps. All coaches steal, I don't care what they say, off what the opponent in front of them does well. So we've got to expect some of those plays that hurt us this past weekend.”
Bielema said he has plans to get the true freshmen who aren't redshirting some ways to see action in games. He even talked about Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland playing some on defense. Bielema didn't say how he would use them on defense, but presumably it would be in short-yardage situations.
“Both of them start on PATs and field goals now,” Bielema said. “Dan Skipper starts for me on punt as well. We will work them in a little on the defensive side of the ball that we haven't shown yet. Offensively, we've got some packages we could include them in as well as the game wears on.”