It's Auburn week, which means there is plenty of talk about Bret Bielema's not so secret disdain for the Tigers. It appears that has worked its way down to the players. Auburn defensive end DeVonte Lambert started with saying the Arkansas offensive line would be "no big challenge." Mitch Smothers responded with a much more tame response, saying he thinks the Hogs matchup really well with Auburn's defensive line. It definitely looks like the jabs exchanged by the coaches have worked their way down to the players and could lead to a chippy game.
Not everything between Arkansas and Auburn will be filled with animosity though. Despite all the words exchanged by the two teams there is still room for friendship. Auburn Coach Rhett Lashlee and Arkansas Tight Ends Coach Barry Lunney Jr. have had a relationship going back to Lashlee's days at Shiloh Christian. In 2001, Lunney was the quarterbacks coach at Tulsa and recruited Lashlee heavily. Even though he chose to walk on at Arkansas instead, the two still talk regularly today. AL.com dives deeper into their friendship, and even dug up some old 2001 Shiloh Christian video.
Gus Malzahn's return to Arkansas will always been one of the main storylines when coming to town. As long as he coaches he wont be able to avoid the question of what it is like to return to the Natural State. This year, the word Malzahn chose to describe the trip to Fayetteville was, "different." The Times Daily compares Malzahn's thoughts to the widely known beliefs Bielema has towards Auburn. There is a lot of talk trying to play up the rivalry between the two teams, but right now both coaching staffs are trying to make this week seem as much like any other conference game as possible.
With all the talk of a rivalry happening between the two teams, this is still a huge game for the Razorbacks' postseason chances. Arkansas is coming off a critical bye week, one that Bielema said was perfectly timed in the preseason. Sam Kahn Jr. of ESPN.com talked with Bielema about how the bye week was approached differently than any other week. This week Bielema turned to player feedback as to how to change the practice schedule. It has worked for him in the past, at Wisconsin he was 5-1 coming off a bye, but is off to an 0-2 start at Arkansas.