It may be hard to think back to this time last year but there was optimism in Fayetteville as the Razorbacks were coming off a season-opening 55-20 win over Eastern Illinois. With an upcoming schedule featuring six home games and a road trip to Colorado State, some Arkansas fans were envisioning a return to the postseason in the first year under Chad Morris.

Those dreams quickly turned into a nightmare the second weekend of the season, as Arkansas traveled to Colorado State and lost 34-27 in a game that the Razorbacks controlled for much of the matchup. Blowing a late lead was nothing new for the Arkansas program and the stunning loss to Colorado State was quickly compounded by losing at home to North Texas.

From that point on, the first season under Morris was essentially lost.

Now the team is in a familiar situation, coming off a loss at Ole Miss last weekend, as Colorado State is making the return trip to Fayetteville and Morris is faced with the challenge of not having the first loss of the season beat the Razorbacks twice. The biggest difference this season though is under center, where Arkansas has turned over the offense to graduate transfer Nick Starkel after starting Ben Hicks the first two games of the season.

During his recent media availability, Starkel was asked to share his thoughts on the Colorado State defense.

“They are pretty solid, they return six starters this year and they are better than they were last year and they can definitely play some ball. So, we are going to give them our best and it’s going to be good for us,” Starkel said on Tuesday.

While he wasn’t a member of Arkansas’ team last season, Starkel admitted he was well aware of last season’s game and the impact that loss had on the Razorbacks’ season.

“I know it was one that they shouldn’t have really let slip away — in the eyes of all the players, that’s what I’ve been hearing,” Starkel commented. “This is important for us to settle things this game.”

When asked about the revenge factor of this game, Starkel didn’t bite on that question but he was willing to show his confidence and swagger heading into the matchup.

“We really just take it one game at a time, so, you know, none of them mean more in terms of revenge, stuff like that, but we are going to give it to them,” he added.

That level of confidence under center is something that we haven’t seen from Arkansas in the Chad Morris era to this point. Based on Starkel’s following comment, it’s something everyone in Fayetteville needs to see and is fully embracing as the schedule is only going to get more challenging in the weeks to come for the Razorbacks.

“I don’t think I have a short leash with Coach Morris. I have full trust in him, he has full trust in me, Coach Craddock has full trust in me – all the coaches do. Especially defensively as well,” Starkel concluded. “Those guys have my back and they know I have theirs. To me, that just makes it a lot easier going out there with a lot more confidence.”