by Chris Bahn
Posted 11/17/2011 07:02 am
Updated 3 years ago
News and notes from Wednesday’s Arkansas football media availability…
I. Strong Finish
Watching Mississippi State running back Vick Ballard on film, Tramain Thomas is struck by how the running back only seems to get better the longer a game goes. Ballard has 811 rushing yards for the Bulldogs thanks to a running style that’s as physical at the end as the start.
“He’s very good,” Thomas said. “Plus, he runs harder in the fourth quarter than he did in the first quarter so we’ve got to come out and gang tackle him, have a lot of hats around the ball and not let him get extra yards.”
Ballard isn’t alone is his strengths. Arkansas players find the Bulldogs to be one of the more physical teams on the schedule each season and this year is no different.
“They’re going to be a great challenge,” defensive end Tenarius Wright said. “They like to run the ball directly at you. They’ll make you play technique sound football.”
II. Like A Rock
Sophomore Byran Jones has been a consistent presence on the defensive line for the Razorbacks this season. He has started every game and has 35 tackles.
“If you had a couple of words to describe him it would be ‘Rock of Gibraltar,’” defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said. “He is a tough guy to deal with and he does his job. There is no flash. The thing is if everybody … would take his approach, we would probably be even more solid.”
III. Challenging Prep
Chris Relf has been monitored for a concussion, but is expected to play on Saturday. That means Arkansas can probably expect multiple quarterbacks for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State has used Relf and Tyler Russell throughout the season. Plus, Dylan Favre (nephew of Brett) has seen playing time the past three games.
Relf, who has passed for 1,103 with seven touchdowns and run for 293 yards with two scores, began the year as the starter. Russell has started three games this year and passed for 979 yards with eight touchdowns.
“What you have to do is prepare for what their base schemes are, what they really believe in, what they like to do,” Coach Bobby Petrino said. “Also, have a flavor for what they’re doing with that particular quarterback in the game. It’s challenging our preparation, but we’re working hard at it and enjoying it.”
“It’s a guy who’s done things the right way in his career. … I’ve got a lot of respect for guys that understand the importance of development within your program. Obviously, he understands that and he’s succeeding because of it.”
—Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen on Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson