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HOOVER, Ala. -- At 6-foot-7, projected Arkansas starting quarterback Ryan Mallett is hardly the incredible shrinking man.

Yet he isn't as big as he once was.

Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said Wednesday at SEC media days that Mallett transferred from Michigan in January 2008 weighing 265 pounds. Now he's down to 238.

"One thing Ryan can really do is throw the deep ball," Petrino said. "With him losing the weight and being more mobile, we're not going to lose our movement game, our ability to run sprint-outs, run the bootleg game or lose being able to move in the pocket.

"In this league, with the defensive ends we face, it's important that you change the launch point and set your quarterback at different spots."

Mallett hails from Texarkana but signed with Michigan to avoid sitting behind Mitch Mustain, who wound up transferring from Arkansas to Southern Cal after the 2006 season. Mallett enters this season as a redshirt sophomore.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Wilson is the backup, and further down the depth chart is another sophomore transfer, Nick Petrino.

"He's got aspirations to be a football coach," Petrino said of his son. "I thought his mom would get that out of him, but she didn't."

Still trying to climb

Kentucky is hoping to attain a fourth consecutive bowl bid this season, which would be a program first. The Wildcats have gone 8-5, 8-5 and 7-6 the past three seasons, but their SEC records have been 4-4, 3-5 and 2-6.

The Wildcats have not posted a winning SEC mark since the league split into divisional play in 1992.

"You would think that somebody ought to be able to climb that ladder a little bit more often," coach Rich Brooks said. "The SEC East, to me, has been the toughest division in the toughest conference in college football. We've changed some history at Kentucky, but we have to change more."

Mullen a special coach

Though he's better known for directing the spread offense, new Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen will be coordinating all of the special teams this season.

"We'll have all our other assistants help me with different phases, but I think it's important for the head coach to be coaching the special teams," Mullen said. "If there are any issues on special teams, you come right to me."

Odds and ends

The first three telecasts on the SEC Network, which has those unique 12:21 kickoffs and will be shown locally on WDSI and WFLI, are Western Kentucky at Tennessee (Sept. 5), Troy at Florida (Sept. 12) and North Texas at Alabama (Sept. 19). ... Alabama's one pay-per-view game will be against Florida International on Sept. 12, so the Crimson Tide's game against UTC on Nov. 21 will be televised. ... Brooks said sophomore Randall Cobb will play receiver this season but that there will be plays for him in a "Wildcat package." ... SEC teams drew more than 450,000 fans to spring games this year for an average of roughly 37,000 per school.

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