Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema will be making his first trip to War Memorial Stadium on Saturday and the game should come after a good week of practice.
Rohan Gaines could miss the Samford game though that won't be determined until Saturday.
Arkansas and Samford will kickoff at 6 and both teams are coming off wins in the season opener against Sun Belt teams.
“I really like the way they practiced this week,” Bielema said. “We wrapped up today with our finishing touches.
“I think our kids are excited, going back to Saturday, I heard a couple of kids reference 'Going to the Rock, going to the Rock.' Obviously they have been there in the past. We haven't, myself and my staff are very excited to do that.”
Sophomore safety Rohan Gaines was injured in the Louisiana game and his availability for Saturday hasn't been determined yet.
“He will probably be a game-time decision,” Bielema said. “He has come along nicely and done a nice job in rehab.
“We'll see exactly where he's at. The good news is it's a late game on Saturday so we have two and a half days between now and then. Other than that, everybody should be good to go.”
Junior Alan Turner would get the start if Gaines can't go Bielema said. Turner actually started the Louisiana game in place of linebacker Braylon Mitchell as the Hogs used a nickel package most of the game. Turner had six tackles in the game. Bielema pointed out Mitchell not starting wasn't anything he did, but instead just the formation Arkansas felt was best to use against the Ragin' Cajuns.
“We just felt like our nickel package was a lot better so that moved Rohan from safety to nickel, took Braylon out of the game and put A.T. (Alan Turner) in the game,” Bielema said. “So the dynamic that would change is [Turner] would still be in the game, but we would probably play more base defense with Braylon at Sam and obviously the other guys that play.”
Alan Turner will start in place of Gaines if he is unable to play.
Arkansas won 34-14 over Louisiana last Saturday. Bielema referred back to an often-used saying when talking about what he's looking for this game.
“I think the part we look forward to as coaches is from Game One to Game Two,” Bielema said. “You hear the old cliché that you make the biggest jump from Game One to Game Two.
“I think there's a lot to that if you did poorly in the first game, but I thought we did a lot of good things so I am just looking to improve on the standpoint of what we didn't do well.”
Samford is a team that could cause Arkansas some problems if they aren't ready to play.
“Samford is a team that is much improved from a year ago,” Bielema said. “They won their opener and executed very, very well.
“They are dangerous in the kicking game. We have been concentrating all week in our preparation for that. Their offense is controlled by their quarterback.”
Among the Samford players Bielema pointed out were quarterback Andy Summerlin, tailback Fabian Truss, wide receiver Kelsey Pope, Mike linebacker Justin Shade and safety Jaquiski Tartt.
True freshman Korliss Marshall will play this week. Marshall, who is from Osceola, is a safety who was an outstanding running back for the Seminoles in high school. Will Marshall help at safety or on special teams this week?
“More on special teams,” Bielema said. “Korliss has been very impressive. I bought him in earlier this week, sat him down.
“Last week we were right on verge of playing him. I just wanted to make sure he was all right. He's a kid that every day continues to grow in our program. He's very gifted athletically. He's very fast, very physical and he's a good ball player. I think actually, for him, there are certain kids once you get around them you realize they'll be better a year from now if they play now. Even if it's in a very minimal role. Just to get them used to playing at the speed of the game and where it's at.
“Safety is relatively new to him. He played different positions in high school. But we think that's something he can grow into. I'm not too sure he couldn't be maybe our third or fourth string running back to be quite honest, that's how talented he is.”
Samford Coach Pat Sullivan won't be making the trip to Little Rock. He had back surgery in July and is still recovering. Defensive Coordinator Bill D'Ottavio will replace him as he did last week. Bielema had said he was looking forward to meeting Sullivan earlier in the week.
“There's times when I'll leave practice just to make sure our coaches know that sometimes I might not be around,” Bielema said. “Hopefully, that's not going to come in any way, shape or form, but it's something you have to prepare for.”