1. Dissecting Mistake: Auburn defensive back Jermaine Whitehead’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown as one of the key moments in Arkansas’ 45-21 loss last Saturday.

1. Dissecting Mistake: Auburn defensive back Jermaine Whitehead’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown as one of the key moments in Arkansas’ 45-21 loss last Saturday.

But the Arkansas coaching staff has pointed to another play — one that came on the drive before the critical interception — that symbolized the Razorbacks’ struggles.

Arkansas trailed 28-21 when the defense forced a turnover, giving the offense the ball at the 46-yard line. The Razorbacks moved to Auburn’s 28 and faced a third-and-4. But the progress stopped when one Razorback had an assignment error on what Bielema called a "wham" play, which led to a six-yard loss for Alex Collins.

"We had a little mojo going and we didn’t make that play," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "We lost a few yards on basically a dive play and that put us behind the thing. We had a mental mistake on the play. We didn’t have the mental mistakes in the first half that we had in the second half. We’ve addressed that with the team."

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said the play, if blocked correctly, might’ve turned into a touchdown.

"If this play is blocked up, not only is it going to be a first down it has a really good chance of Alex hitting his head on the goal post," Bielema said. "I mean, it was one of those plays in the first half and it was right there. We had one guy block down instead of block out, and the result is now it’s fourth-and-10."

The mistake hurt for another reason. Quarterback Brandon Allen said after the game the Razorbacks were in four-down territory. They would’ve gone for it on fourth-and-short even if the third-down play hadn’t picked up a first down.

But the lost-yardage play — which also included a holding penalty on fullback Patrick Arinze that was declined by Auburn — forced Arkansas to punt. Allen threw his interception on Arkansas’ next series and the Razorbacks never recovered.

"You always bank on getting positive yardage in that situation," Allen said after the game. "It wasn’t good. We lost six. And that right there, we had to pooch punt it. So that’s just … It’s another killer on offense when something like that happens."

2. Ragnow Will Play: Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman said freshman center Frank Ragnow will play against Nicholls State on Saturday. Pittman said he didn’t put Ragnow on the field to spell starter Mitch Smothers at Auburn because of the wet conditions.

"I wasn’t comfortable putting him in the game," Pittman said. "Mitch wore down a little bit. They had them great big guys on the inside and probably 60 plays was too many for him to be honest. But it was wet and I was nervous about the snap."

It means Allen will be taking snaps from two centers during Saturday. The junior said he has worked with both in camp throughout the preseason and isn’t concerned about having any quarterback-center exchange issues.

"I mean, sometimes there are (issues) with different centers and where they’re snapping it and things like that under center," Allen said. "But with Mitch and Frank, I think they’re pretty identical with their snaps. … Every day I take snaps from both anyway. So there’s really not a big changeup there."

3. Arkansas Boxers: Bielema said Monday his defense, which was carved up by Auburn in the opener last Saturday, needs to take on a boxer’s mentality.

"When you’re a boxer and you see someone bleed, you want to go after that cut eye," Bielema said. "I always used to tell players, when you see a guy bleeding — and he doesn’t necessarily need to have blood coming out of him — but if he’s holding his knee or he’s holding his wrist, or he’s bent over, or he’s holding his leg or he’s working his ankle out, go after that baby.

"When I was a wrestler and you’ve got a brace on, I’m going after your (expletive), you know? That’s the mentality I think that we have to establish."

4. Second Half Work: Fixing the second half struggles has become an emphasis of practice this week.

Allen said Arkansas divided Tuesday’s practice into a first half and second half. The goal, of course, was to make sure the effort stayed the same. Arkansas and Auburn were tied 21-21 at halftime, but the Tigers outscored the Hogs 24-0 after the break.

"It was really about just coming out of halftime and having the juice to start the second half like we started the game," Allen said. "So I think that’s something we’re really stressing this week and we just need to have the energy and the juice when we come out of halftime to perform like we did in the first half."

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau