Garrick McGee could see the carry over from last week's "off week" preparations when Arkansas went to the practice field on Tuesday. It followed a light workout on Sunday night. The Hogs travel to Arlington, Texas on Saturday to play Texas A&M in Cowboys Stadium
"Practice as good," said McGee, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. We went a little while on Sunday night just to get them lathered back up. We are a little ahead compared to a typical Tuesday in our understanding of the A&M game plan."
Much of the talk since Arkansas last played -- a 24-20 loss to No. 1 Alabama -- has concerned the lack of a potent running game. Head coach Bobby Petrino has mentioned three times since that game that he would get the running game going even if he had to "force the issue" with his playcalling.
"We haven't played a game to see what he's going to do, but I trust him if he said that," McGee said. "I think what we've done in practice is to get committed to the run game. We have to concentrate and focus as running backs. We have to run with our pads lower. We have to not run away from contact. The offensive line has to be in its proper stance and maintain blocks and we have to block better on the perimeter -- take care of all the details."
McGee indicated that some of the details go back to the pre-snap reads by quarterback Ryan Mallett. The offensive system requires checks and reads by the quarterback to make sure the right plays are called in regards to the defensive look.
"Ryan has to get us out of bad plays," McGee said. "Ryan has to change it at the line if they have too many in one place. In our offense, the quarterback has the ability to change the play and he hasn't done that in some instances."
It's happening in practice, according to McGee.
"I have a feeling that what we've worked on in practice is going to come through in games," he said. "Our players are willing learners.
"We have to do a better job in the fourth quarter of running the ball when we have a lead. If we'd done that last week, we'd be a top five team right now. Our players know that. They are confident. We don't have to do anything for them to understand what's needed. We don't have to say anything or trick them to make them believe in what we are doing."
Mallett said it's been a good set of practices since the Alabama game.
"It's been great," he said. "Our tempo has been good. Our intensity has been good. It's been good practices to build towards our next game."
The team is excited about the trip to Cowboys Stadium.
"Everybody is up," he said. "We've got a bunch of Texas guys who are excited. Not all of our team has played in that stadium, but the veterans know what it's like. It won't take long for the other guys to get used to it. The younger guys will want to look at the big screen for a little while, then it's about playing football.
"Our guys are all ready to play right now. I think most of us wish we had played last week. I know I'm itching to get back out there."
Knile Davis is one of those Texans. He is a product of Missouri City and played at Fort Bend Marshall High School. He's drawn praise from the head coach and others for his play in the last game.
"I think the game is slowing down for me," he said, noting that means he sees the holes and feels the plays developing quicker.
Someone asked if he feels that the coaches have a higher confidence in his play after the Alabama game.
"I hope he has more confidence in me," Davis said. "Maybe that means more carries. My dream is to go for 200 yards in that stadium. I think that would be the dream of any back who grew up in the state of Texas. I look forward to getting down there. I expect to have a lot of friends and family in that stadium."
Texas A&M has a new defensive staff with a 3-4 scheme that is mostly zone blitz in pressures.
"We've seen a lot of 3-4 looks the last few games, but it isn't quite like this scheme," McGee said. "It's a different type. They are really good with the zone blitz. I know the Oklahoma State coaches say what you see is not always what you get. I think that's exactly right. They hit the Oklahoma State quarterback. We will have to be sharp in our pickups and protections."
Offensive guard Wade Grayson said the pressures will often come from the outside.
"They bring a lot of blitzes from the corner and the edge and from the safeties," Grayson said. "We'll have to look for a lot of outside blitzes."
The emphasis on blitz pickup has to be balanced in practice time this week, but it's obvious that the run game has been a major focus, too.
"The first thing we've worked on the last week is to be more physical," Grayson said. "We have to be more dominant up front. I think we have to maintain our blocks longer. We have to stick on them.
"We worked on the run game all of last week. Today was a lot of run plays, too. I think we were more physical today and had better tempo in our run game."
Tuesday Grid Update, 10/5
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