Bahn: Razorbacks Have To Get Up For Texas A&M Or 2011 Could Be A Down Year

by Chris Bahn  on Friday, Sep. 30, 2011 10:00 am  

D.D. Jones has a knack for pumping up the crowd and teammates in games. He's trying his best to get the Razorbacks rallied for this week's game against Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

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D.D. Jones has emerged as something of a go-to guy for the Arkansas defense. His on-field antics and animated sideline pep talks are hard to miss, and coaches find them valuable when the Razorbacks need a dose of energy.

Jones isn’t just a hype man, though. He can provide a heaping helping of honesty when it’s needed as well.

No. 18 Arkansas (3-1) faces No. 14 Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. It’s typically a source of excitement and conversation when the Razorbacks play in the billion-dollar stadium. Toss in A&M’s move to the SEC next year and this has the makings of a pretty exciting game – at least until you talk to Jones about it.

“It’s another task at hand, man,” Jones said. “… It’s a nice stadium and all, but we’re just trying to go down there and get the job done. Our backs [are] against the wall right now and we’ve got to come out fighting and give them all we’ve got.”

It’s not that the new has worn off of the House That Jerry Built. Players recognize what a great venue it is and within the locker room it has been described, according to linebacker Alonzo Highsmith, as the “Disneyland of Football.”

But Cowboys Stadium won’t be anywhere close to the happiest place on earth for Arkansas if it doesn’t win on Saturday.

A loss wouldn’t necessarily put the Razorbacks further behind in the SEC race. Next year losing to the Aggies would have that sort of impact, but not in 2011.

What a loss would do is kill the already shaky confidence of a team coming off a 38-14 loss to Alabama. It would put doubt in the head of a team that was searching for leaders in the offseason and might still be trying to figure out who is in charge of the locker room with the midway point of 2011 fast approaching.

Quarterback Tyler Wilson provided a show of leadership when he called an offensive meeting on Sunday after the team ran. He said it was something that the players agreed “needed to be had.”

Wilson gets the significance of the game. Arkansas badly needs a good showing in this one.

“Hey, this is a must win, in my mind and anybody that’s here in this program. I guarantee," Wilson said. "We’ve got to go out and have a great week of preparation, make sure we’re on the same page and execute on Saturday.”

Perhaps Wilson could get rid of the ball quicker. Maybe he doesn't read defenses quite like he needs to at times. But he recognizes an opportunity for the Razorbacks when he sees one.



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