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Petrino Should Rest His Stars Versus Vandy

Entering the week, the three most important pieces of Arkansas’ passing game — not counting the O-line, of course — were banged up.

Quarterback Ryan Mallett (bruised throwing shoulder) returned to practice first.  Yesterday, receiver Greg Childs (ankle) returned.  But fellow receiver Joe Adams (ankle) was still out of action at yesterday’s practice.

Bobby Petrino said during the SEC teleconference yesterday that Childs is more likely to play this weekend against Vanderbilt than Adams.  But I would suggest Petrino take a look at how Steve Spurrier handled his injured star last week when his Gamecocks faced the Commodores.

Carolina could have used tailback Marcus Lattimore in Nashville.  He wouldn’t have been 100%, but he was well enough to have played.  Instead, rolling the dice that the Cocks could subdue Vandy without their best player, Spurrier rested him.  Now Lattimore says he’s fully healthy and ready for the Gamecocks’ stretch run.

Vanderbilt’s defense isn’t terrible.  If it received any support at all from VU’s offense, the Commodore D might actually be decent.  But it doesn’t get help from the offense.  And that’s why Vandy has lost by a combined score of 64-7 the last two weekends.

Petrino knows the health of his players better than the fans or media.  But it might be wise for the coach to give his banged-up stars as much rest as possible this week.

Sitting three players is more of a challenge than sitting one.  So we’re not suggesting that Petrino start backups in place of Mallett, Childs and Adams.  But if he’s smart, Petrino will go for Vandy’s throat early, try to build a lead, and then turn the game over to his second-teamers.

The Razorbacks still have SEC games remaining at South Carolina, at Mississippi State and at home against LSU.  Better to be without their stars against a struggling Vandy squad… than against those stronger foes waiting just ahead on the Arkansas schedule.



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