1. Ellis, Gaines Ready: Arkansas is preparing to face one of the nation’s most explosive offenses Saturday.

1. Ellis, Gaines Ready: Arkansas is preparing to face one of the nation’s most explosive offenses Saturday.


Two of its defensive starters banged up last Saturday should be available to help.


Linebacker Brooks Ellis (head) and safety Rohan Gaines (shoulder) have practiced with the Razorbacks in preparation for Saturday’s game against No. 6 Texas A&M in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium. Both were injured during Arkansas’ 52-14 win against Northern Illinois, but coach Bret Bielema is confident they’ll return.


Ellis, who is second on the team with 24 tackles, was injured when he was trying to bring down NIU quarterback Drew Hare in the first quarter. Teammate Martrell Spaight flew in and hit both players, ending Ellis’ night. But Spaight said his teammate was back on the practice field Wednesday.


"Honestly, it’s like he wasn’t injured at all," said Spaight, who added he apologized to Ellis for the blow that ended his night. "He was out there flying around at practice (Wednesday) as well as Tuesday. So I expect to see him out there on the field."


Gaines, who ranks fifth on the team with 26 tackles, was injured during a collision with NIU tight end Luke Eakes in the second half. Bielema said the junior suffered a shoulder stinger during the play, but has practiced this week with no issues.


"He was a little bigger than I thought," Gaines said Wednesday about the shoulder stinger. "I had bad intentions and it didn’t work out the way I planned."


Bielema also said linebacker Randy Ramsey — who started at strong side linebacker against NIU — will be available as well after being limited by an ankle injury. Ramsey missed two straight games because of a sore ankle and hurt the other one last Saturday, finishing with two tackles in a limited role.


"We’ve modified his shoes and his tape job," Bielema said. "He should be in full effect. He really practiced well (Tuesday). We’ll involve him, because he’s back being healthy now, we’re actually going to involve him on some special teams as well."


2. Big Test: Texas A&M’s receiving corps will present a big challenge to Arkansas’ secondary Saturday. Five of the Aggies’ top six pass catchers are at least 6-foot, including Ricky Seals-Jones (6-5), Josh Reynolds (6-4) and Edward Pope (6-4).


Defensive backs coach Clay Jennings said his group must stand up to the big bodies.


"One thing we’ve got to do is match their level of physicality," Jennings said. "We can’t let them push us around. We’ve got to play within the rules of the game, but we’ve got to get up and challenge people, and we’ve got to contest balls. That’s one thing our guys have been talking about all week, is they’re looking forward to the challenge. Don’t let them catch anything."


Arkansas had some trouble with Auburn’s big receivers in the opener. But safety Rohan Gaines said the Razorbacks will be prepared for the test against Texas A&M.


"They do have good size," Gaines said. "We just have to play physical on the edge. Our corners have to be physical and reroutes on man coverage and just try to get them off track. … We are more than physical enough to compete with anybody."


3. Take That: Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill told media members in College Station earlier this week there were rumors Johnny Manziel would be attending Saturday’s game.


His quarterback coach with the Cleveland Browns — former Razorback Dowell Loggains — told ESPN.com on Wednesday he has an idea of what Manziel will be doing if he is in Arlington’s AT&T Stadium for the SEC West game.


"I think that he’ll probably go watch the Aggies get beat by the Razorbacks," Loggains said Wednesday, according to ESPN.com.


Loggains is in his first season with the Browns and is working with Manziel, who was drafted in the first round by the organization last April. Cleveland has a bye week and Loggains told ESPN.com he would be in Dallas to visit family, too.


Another former Razorback is scheduled to be in Dallas as well. Fullback Kiero Small, who is on Cleveland’s practice squad, said he plans to attend the game.


"About to watch my first live SEC game as a fan this weekend," Small said via Twitter. "Was just sitting on stage last year telling y’all Coach B had a plan."


4. Extra Points


• The Davey O’Brien Award has labeled Saturday’s game between Arkansas and Texas A&M as its marquee quarterback matchup of the week. Arkansas QB Brandon Allen has accounted for 10 touchdowns (8 passing, 2 rushing), while Hill has thrown for 1,359 yards and 13 touchdowns in four games.


• Running back Jonathan Williams thought he’d have a chance to get his hands on several tickets for Saturday’s game to distribute to friends and family. But the Texas native has learned it’s not that easy with the game being played in AT&T Stadium. "A lot of people from all over the country want to come to Jerry’s world," Williams said, referring to Dallas Cowboys owner and former Razorback Jerry Jones. "So all those (teammates) from Florida, I thought I was going to be able to get their tickets. It didn’t happen that way. So … I’m stuck at four right now."


• Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and his team will feel some déjà vu — in a good way — this week. The Aggies are traveling to Dallas for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff for the second straight week after playing at SMU last Saturday. "I think last week was a good experience for a lot of players in our program that you travel to Dallas and have the same game time this week, which is 2:30, which gives us duplication in prep for this week," Sumlin said. "Obviously in different venues, but same practice schedule, same travel times and game times, just different places to play."


— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau