Wednesday Grid Update, 9/22

No one denies that playing No. 1 Alabama is big, but Arkansas players and coaches think sticking with the routine will work this week. That's the plan for the No. 10 Hogs.

It's clear that the Arkansas football staff and players have had their head down the last few days, honing in on the specifics of playing Alabama -- not the hype of a big game matching the No. 1 Crimson Tide and the No. 10 Razorbacks.

It's what they do.

"Fellows, I haven't noticed," said Willy Robinson, defensive coordinator.

What he hasn't noticed is the media frenzy concerning the game, both locally and nationally.

"I get in my little room at 7:30 in the morning and I don't leave until 10 at night," Robinson said. "Seeing you guys in here (in the post practice media room) is the first time I've seen any media.

"I'm sure it's a distraction for some of our younger players."

The veterans who came to meet with the media after practice Wednesday said much the same thing.

"I give Alabama all the respect in the world," said Ramon Broadway, senior cornerback. "They are No. 1. They've earned it. They have players who have done it on the field. They have earned everything they've gotten, including Mark Ingram earning the Heisman Trophy.

"But, we know they have to come here to play us in our place. We are going to do all we can to be ready. We are going to keep preparing, keep grinding. That's what we've done this week."

Robinson said the preparation has been good, although not perfect. He's seen mistakes.

"I think what we've had is good energy and good attention to what they are trying to do," Robinson said. "We haven't gotten it all down yet, but we will. We'll get better Thursday. I think our preparation has been good. I've been happy with them."

Most of the conversation with Robinson concerned the problems Alabama's offense.

"They do everything well," he said. "They make you play those run sets and then they hit you with play-action. They make you play them inside and then they take advantage of that with the outside runs.

"They have great running backs. They have two of them. They are built low to the ground, they have quick feet. They have great ability with their spins and they are just so powerful. They can do everything and anything you want."

There were a few specific questions about Arkansas personnel. Robinson was asked about Darius Winston and Anthony Leon.

"Darius has worked hard in practice this week," Robinson said. "He'll play this week."

According to Robinson, Leon had a productive finish to the Georgia game.

"He got overwhelmed at the start of the game last week," Robinson said. "Some of the motion and things that happened overwhelmed him. You sit down there at linebacker and then something comes across your face, you have to know to stick with your keys. It did overwhelm him at first. But he recovered. He was productive and he'll be productive the rest of the year."

Alabama will mess with your keys, too. Robinson said he's seen the Tide offense do more of that this year.

"They are very multiple, moreso than last year," he said. "You have to really watch for their personnel groups. They will use both their tight ends and then sometimes use both those running backs in the game at the same time. You have to stay with them as far as substituting personnel groups.

"Then they'll move their tailback to quarterback and the quarterback outside and run what some call the Wildcat. It's been very, very productive for them. They had a tendency to just to sprinkle that in last year, but they look to stick with it more and might just run it all the way down the field.

"You better be really good at tackling and really good at keying. Then, don't look now, but they'll run the jet sweep with Julio Jones."

Defensive end Jake Bequette calls the Tide's personnel "great." He said he sees talent in all areas.

"You know about the running backs, but they have it everywhere," Bequette said. "Really, they have three pretty good backs. You see good backs around our league, but these are really good. Then, the quarterback is so effective. Greg McElroy doesn't make many mistakes. Their offensive line doesn't make mistakes. I think McElroy is more talented than some might realize."

Bequette said he feels the big nature of the game when he goes across campus.

"Students are camping out to be first in the stadium," he said. "It's big, but you really don't see any difference from our coaches. We are going to do what we do to get ready. You see our head coach is the same. He is doing everything the same as what we've done for each game.

"I think everything is just like normal for us. It's been two tough physical practices this week. There's nothing out of the ordinary."

Bobby Petrino has preached to the Hogs about that fact.

"We know it's Alabama and they are No. 1, but what he's told us is that if we play our game, that will be good enough," Bequette said. "If we play the way we are capable of playing, that will work. We don't have to be super human or change the way we play. We just have to pay attention to the things we have been taught."

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