FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell has experienced plenty in his career, which included stops at placed like Arkansas State, Nevada, Mississippi and Tennessee.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell has experienced plenty in his career, which included stops at placed like Arkansas State, Nevada, Mississippi and Tennessee.

So Caldwell provided a good indication of what the Arkansas defense is facing as it prepares to play Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl.

“The most frustrating thing for a defensive line coach is a running quarterback,” Caldwell said during his appearance on the Bobby Petrino Live radio show on Dec. 14. “They drive me nuts.”

Stopping running quarterbacks has been a pain in the neck — and an Achilles’ heel — for the No. 6 Razorbacks (10-2) the past couple of seasons. And it’s something they’re hoping to overcome when they face, arguably, their toughest challenge since Auburn’s Cam Newton in 2010 on Jan. 6.

The Kansas State offense is powered by quarterback Collin Klein, who led the Wildcats to a 10-win season for the first time since 2003.

The 6-foot-5, 226-pound Klein is a bull with the ball in his hands, running for 1,099 yards and 26 of his team’s 33 rushing touchdowns in 2011. He also has thrown for 1,745 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“The team will go as far as he goes,” Arkansas linebacker Alonzo Highsmith said. “Right now our main focus is tackling and getting to the ball.

“They are a running team and if you don’t stick with your keys they can gash you. So we are just trying to focus on our keys and tackling.”

But it hasn’t been that easy for the Razorbacks.

Mobile quarterbacks have given Arkansas problems this season, using their legs to keep drives alive and Bobby Petrino’s offense off the field.

The list includes: Vanderbilt’s Jordan Rogers (66 yards), LSU’s Jordan Jefferson (53 yards), Auburn’s Kiehl Frazier (54 yards) and Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill (56 yards). None of them have topped the 100-yard mark this season, but it happened three times in 2010 when Newton (188 yards), Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor (115 yards) and Mississippi State’s Chris Relf (103 yards) enjoyed big days against the Razorbacks.

Defensive end Tenarius Wright believes Arkansas can benefit from those struggles, though.

“I believe we’re going to be very prepared for this running quarterback since we’ve seen a lot of them,” Wright said. “We can look back and see our mistakes and correct those for this game. The biggest point going against this quarterback is just getting him on the ground. Tackling him.”

It’s easier said than done. Klein is more run-oriented than any quarterback the Razorbacks have faced this season, compiling more rushing attempts (293) than passes (251). Klein topped the 100-yard rushing mark in five games and has rushed for three or more touchdowns in five games, too.

His biggest performance came in a loss to Oklahoma State, when Klein rushed for 144 yards and 3 touchdowns. He added 103 yards and 5 touchdowns the next week, leading the Wildcats to a four-overtime win against Texas A&M.

“He’s going to try and run you over for the first down,” Arkansas linebacker Ross Rasner said.

His abilities led some to remember a former Hog quarterback who was impressive with his legs.

“I see a big, tall athlete that kind of reminds you of Matt Jones a little bit getting back there and when things break down he can make plays with his feet,” cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen said.

Arkansas, which is ranked 80th in the nation in rushing defense (174.3 yards), knows its ability to slow Klein will be key to picking up a Cotton Bowl win for the first time since 2000.

The Razorbacks — who are off until Dec. 27 — have spent time on tackling drills during their closed bowl practices, according to players. Shedding blockers, wrapping up and finishing is the goal.

“We’ve faced so many different dual-threat quarterbacks,” said linebacker Jerico Nelson. “Some that are speedy, some that are big and mobile. … The one we’re facing in the this bowl is power. Not just shifty, but downhill running so we’ve got make sure we get him down.”

It will be a difficult task for the Arkansas defense, which is making the transition to defensive coordinator Paul Haynes this month.

But Haynes said his new group will be prepared.

“He’s talented,” Haynes said. “I think he’s the heart, definitely, of their offense. As he goes, the offense goes. He’s a tough kid. So that’s kind of what their offense is built around. …

“We have a big challenge. But we will be ready.”