Posted August 15, 2012 on
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(Eds: APNewsNow.) By KURT VOIGT AP Sports Writer Ross Rasner noticed a startling change early in preseason camp.
The Arkansas safety was accustomed to serving as a defense in name only during the skeleton scrimmage portion of practice, a time when the offense had its way under former coach Bobby Petrino.
Then, one night during an early August practice, Rasner's instincts took over and he knocked the ball away from a receiver. Afterward, he paused and waited for criticism he had become used to in his three seasons under Petrino.
All he heard were cheers of support.
Times have changed around Arkansas under new coach John L. Smith and defensive coordinator Paul Haynes. The most telling difference has been in practices, where defensive players are now encouraged to hold their own with the Razorbacks' high-powered offense.
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