by Chris Bahn
Posted 10/5/2011 08:00 pm
Updated 2 years ago
News and notes from Wednesday’s Arkansas football media availability …
I. Tackling Bad Tackling
Arkansas linebacker Alonzo Highsmith wasn’t caught off guard Wednesday when asked about the team’s recent poor tackling performances. Why?
“I mean, it’s the truth. We missed a lot of tackles these last couple games,” Highsmith said. “The truth hurts. At the same time it’s something that needs to be addressed.”
Highsmith said the team has focused on additional tackling drills this week. Extra attention is being paid to making stops because of so many missed tackles against Alabama and Texas A&M.
Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson noted the team often works on tackling drills. Proper technique is taught, but “somehow, someway gets thrown out with the wash.”
Poor technique is just part of the issue for Arkansas. Players were caught on film shying away from contact.
“… Courage is involved. I hate to say it, but sometimes you have to deal with the fact that you know what, don't turn down a hit,” Robinson said. “We've had several of those as well.”
II. Stop The Run, Be Wary Of Tricks
This week the defense has a pretty simple task against No. 15 Auburn. Stop the run.
Specifically, the Razorbacks need to stop Michael Dyer. The Little Rock Christian product ran 41 times for 147 yards and a touchdown in an upset against South Carolina.
“As far as them giving him the ball 41 times, I feel like they’re saying, ‘Unless this guy touches the ball, we won’t win…’ We have to take that into consideration. Just stop him.”
Robinson said the workload didn’t figure to wear down Dyer. Arkansas, which gave up 381 yards rushing to the Aggies, doesn’t anticipate the sophomore to be tired on Saturday.
“He carried the ball for 41 times last week and as their coach said he is more than willing to let him carry it for 50,” Robinson said. “With the pace that they practice at there is no way that youngster is going to be tired.”
Arkansas will, of course, have to watch for trick plays. Auburn has used those effectively and also has found freshman quarterback Kiehl Frazier (Shiloh Christian) capable of spot duty.
Frazier has primarily been used as a runner. He had 49 yards on nine carries against South Carolina and enters as a change of pace to Barrett Trotter.
III. Bequette Update
Jake Bequette is closer to a return for Arkansas. Bequette practiced on Tuesday and was spotted dressed out on Wednesday.
Bequette wasn’t available for interviews with media, but did an in-house interview and appeared to be walking without any noticeable effects from a hamstring injury that has kept him out of three games.
Coach Bobby Petrino hinted earlier in the week Bequette might be back. Petrino went a bit further on the SEC teleconference when asked if Bequette would be ready to play.
"It looks like it. He practiced [Tuesday] night and did a good job," Petrino said.
No word, however, on defensive tackle Robert Thomas. Petrino and defensive coordinator Willy Robinson both gave the non-answer answer that Thomas is “getting better every day.”
“Myself, I played horrible. I missed tackles. That’s one of the things I talked to Coach [Petrino] about, coach Robinson. I just had to come out and make sure I had a better week of practice."
— Safety Jerico Nelson on his performance against Texas A&M.