Bahn: No. 10 Razorbacks Proving 'Soft' Not An Appropriate Adjective As Injuries Mount

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011 2:40 pm  

Arkansas medical personnel check on the health of cornerback Darius Winston after he was hurt against Texas A&M on Saturday. Winston is one of multiple starters who have gone down with injury this season. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

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Halftime of Arkansas’ loss at Alabama brought the sort of question that must be asked even knowing how much coaches hate to answer.

CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson noted that defensive end Jake Bequette was out for the game and end Tenarius Wright had gone down with what was later diagnosed as a fractured arm. Wolfson wanted to know what sort of impact that might have on the Razorbacks.

Coach Bobby Petrino handled the question about like you’d expect. Injuries aren’t a favorite topic of his, especially in the heat of the moment. Petrino answered before abruptly heading off to the Arkansas locker room.

“We don’t worry about things like that. We’ve just got to go play.”

Coaches will often tell you football is supposed to be all about overcoming injuries, surviving obstacles, living in the moment, making the most of your opportunities, etc. That’s what Petrino was telling Wolfson, just not in so many words.

Those are lessons Petrino seems to be teaching daily as injuries continue to mount for his team.

Following Saturday’s 42-38 victory against Texas A&M, there were questions about the physical wellbeing of Bequette (hamstring), Wright (arm), defensive tackle Robert Thomas (leg), cornerbacks Darius Winston (knee) and Isaac Madison (arm) and wide receiver Joe Adams (ribs). Don’t forget all-SEC running back Knile Davis was lost to a broken ankle before the season began, knocked out seven plays into the first full-contact scrimmage of fall camp.

Petrino didn’t want to spend much time on the topic Monday when discussing Saturday’s 6 p.m. matchup between the No. 10 Razorbacks (4-1, 0-1) and No. 15 Auburn (4-1, 2-0). He offered no updates on the health of players. Essentially his point, the one he was trying to convey to CBS, was that he can’t have his team thinking it is doomed because a handful of guys are on the shelf.

“Unfortunately injuries are a part of the game of football,” Petrino said. “… You get guys that get dinged up, a new guy comes in. You get guys healthy. It’s kind of the way it works.”

That’s the way it is supposed to work if you have good depth. Not every team can afford to have multiple playmakers on both sides of the football.

So far, though, Arkansas has just plugged and played. Depth has been serviceable enough that the team has survived.

But depth is just one concern. Mentally, injuries can take a significant toll on a team.



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