By Otis Kirk
Arkansas will play at Mississippi State on Saturday, but it won’t be like just any road game in the SEC.
Anytime a team plays a road game in the SEC it’s obviously a hard game to win, but at Mississippi State there’s the added ingredient of cowbells ringing the entire game.
Arkansas defensive coordinator John Chavis has coached against Mississippi State in Starkville in the past while at Tennessee, LSU and Texas A&M. So Chavis has an idea of what to expect on Saturday.
“It’s cowbells,” Chavis said. “It’s a great tradition, a great environment and that’s what you look for when you start talking about SEC venues. They are all good and unique in their own way. They are unique from that standpoint. They have great fan support and they make it tough on visiting teams when they come in there.
“The thing about coaching defense is when we’re on the field the cowbells won’t be going. It’s easier to communicate on the road because the home team isn’t going to be making a lot of noise when the defense is on the field.”
Arkansas coach Chad Morris will be coaching in Davis Wade Stadium for the first time on Saturday.
“I’ve heard about the environment and I’m sure it’ll be loud and we’ll definitely prepare our players for every environment we go into,” Morris said. “But everybody I’ve talked to said the cowbells are pretty loud.”
Arkansas offensive coordinator Joe Craddock also talked about dealing with the cowbells on Saturday.
“Well, a lot of what we do is signal-based anyway, nonverbal communication stuff,” Craddock said. “A lot of things that we’re going to have to do, really just from the snap count-standpoint, we’re going to have to have a plan for that. I’m not really worried about getting calls in or getting different things done because most everything we do is nonverbal using hand signals.
“As long as they don’t fog up the stadium or turn the lights off where we can still see, I think we’ll be okay to get our calls. But for the most part, it’ll just be from a snap count-standpoint. We’ll have to do a good job for that.”
Arkansas and Mississippi State will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Saturday with the game televised on ESPN.