Arkansas is looking to improve to 2-0 with a win against Louisiana-Monroe in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
One former Razorback will do everything he can to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Mitchell Bailey, who played fullback at Arkansas in 2008 and 2009, is now a senior at ULM. The Broken Bow, Okla., native is looking forward to the trip back to Arkansas, where he’ll see players and coaches who he worked with in Fayetteville.
“There’s a lot of faces I haven’t seen in a long time,” Bailey said Wednesday. “I still have a few good buddies on the team and I’m looking forward to getting back there and just talking to them. It’s pretty exciting.”
The last time Bailey played in War Memorial Stadium was the 2008 season finale, when Arkansas got a last-minute touchdown pass from quarterback Casey Dick to receiver London Crawford for the game-winning score against LSU. It capped a freshman season in which Bailey played in four games, scoring a touchdown in the 34-21 loss at South Carolina. He redshirted the 2009 season.
Bailey — who also is remembered for an 80-yard touchdown run in a spring scrimmage — enjoyed his time at Arkansas, but left because of what he described as a “scholarship deal.” He said the Razorbacks promised he would earn a scholarship when he walked on, but it never materialized. So after spending two years as a walk-on and with no sign of a scholarship coming, Bailey looked for a new home.
He found ULM and, after sitting out the 2010 season because of NCAA transfer rules, finished fourth on the team in rushing last season (64 carries, 212 yards, 2 touchdowns). His best day came in the season finale, when Bailey rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown and added 42 receiving yards in a win at Florida Atlantic.
“It was really great,” Bailey said of 2011. “I was really happy and pleased with the opportunity I got it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to a lot more this year coming up. I’m pretty happy about that too.”
It starts with a trip to Little Rock, where Bailey said he’s particularly eager to see Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson (“He gave me some handoffs back in the day”) and running backs coach Tim Horton (“He’s a real good man of good character and he’s a good coach”). Bailey also said several family members will be in attendance.
Bailey — who is expected to help in the backfield and on special teams Saturday — said it’s more than a reunion though. He and the Warhawks believe they can win after giving Arkansas all it could handle in a 31-7 loss in 2010.
ULM finished 4-8 last season, but has several key starters returning to lead the team during a three-game stretch that includes Arkansas, Auburn and Baylor. It’s a daunting schedule, but Bailey said he and his teammates are confident.
“We’re fired up,” Bailey said. “We’re ready to go get after them.”
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau