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Both Coaches Want to Make Statements at Start

Look for Hogs' Sam Pittman, Missouri State's Bobby Petrino to try and set tone immediately
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — There may not be a whole lot of secrecy to the start of Arkansas' game Saturday night.

The Razorbacks' Sam Pittman flat said what they want to do immediately and the Bears' Bobby Petrino hasn't changed in a couple of decades.

"We’re going to show our opponent who we are,” Pittman said on his radio show Wednesday night. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to score points. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to get a first down. We want to, but we’re going to show our opponent that we’re a physical group, that we’re going to play hard and that we’re going to strain to the ball and strain blocking for our ball carriers.

“I want the opponent to know who we are by the first play of the game. To me, that’s starting fast. And, of course, part of that is holding onto the ball, which we’ve been very good at."

For anybody that knows anything about football, that means the Hogs want to hit Missouri State in the mouth right off the bat.

Petrino's entire coaching career has been trying to get off to a fast start. Ask anybody that played quarterback for him over the years.

He scripts his first three offensive plays and wants to start fast. Hogs' defensive coordinator Barry Odom knows this, too.

All of that means offensive coordinator Kendal Briles may throw a bomb down the field on the first offensive play of the day for the Hogs, but the guys in the trenches may try to knock somebody silly.

Things will settle down a little and the guess here is the only way Missouri State has a real shot at winning the game is if the Hogs help them a little with turnovers and penalties.

"We’ve made a big deal out of it," Pittman said this week about the penalties.

Don't be surprised to see some returns, which was discussed this week, which Pittman probably would like to avoid.

The only way the Bears get to kick off more than once is if they are scoring points.

That's not the goal.

Which is why Pittman wants to hit them in the mouth from the start to reduce some initial enthusiasm.

The question will be how Petrino's team answers that.

Kickoff for the game is 6 p.m. at Razorback Stadium and you can watch the game on ESPN+ or SECN+.

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