Wednesday Grid Update, 10/6

Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson was clear what he thinks of the Aggies. He called them "dynamic."

Willy Robinson used the word "dynamic" a couple of times Wednesday when he was asked about going against the Texas A&M offense. The Arkansas defensive coordinator was trying to describe what the Aggies bring to the table at quarterback and then the quick pace nature of their overall offensive scheme.

Texas A&M features Jerrod Johnson at quarterback. The no huddle spread offense Johnson runs snapped the ball 111 times last week against Oklahoma State.

"The quarterback we face this week is explosive as heck," Robinson said. "He's a dynamic big athlete. The thing about him -- and we are going to face someone like him the next couple of weeks -- is that he can throw and he can run.

"That offense is really dynamic. I know they've had some issues with turnovers, but I'm sure it's being corrected this week."

The A&M concept is built around a hurry-up pace, then plays designed to put playmakers in space in one-on-one situations. Robinson said it's difficult to simulate the pace in practice, but tackling in space is nothing new.

"What we've been working on just in every day practices and preaching in our games is to go full speed," he said. "That's how you make plays in space. You play fast and get everyone to the ball and tackle when you get there. If you are running to get there, that solves that.

"But the main thing for us, we see the space elements every day in practice. That's what we go against every day against our own offense. We know that we are not going to play anyone better than our own offense. We don't wake up on Saturday fearing anything because of what we see in practice every day."

Robinson was asked about Darius Winston working some with the first unit at field cornerback,taking some of the repetitions with Isaac Madison.

"Darius has his confidence back," Robinson said. "It starts with doing everything right in his every day life. What we have there is a very competitive situation, like we have at other positions and that's good.

"It's getting that way there and that is good. We also have Eric Bennett and Greg Gatson coming on at corner. It's a very competitive situation."

Robinson was asked if everything is alright with Madison. He said, "He's peachy, swell, just peachy."

The tempo of the hurry up is not somewhat Robinson knows how to simulate in practice. And he's not sure he wants to.

"That's one thing we struggled with a couple of years ago when we played Tulsa, how to simulate what they do," Robinson said. "We decided that might not be what we wanted to do in practice to wear down our legs before Saturday. We wanted to be fresh.

"So what we worked on in practice is to make sure we covered the communication issues, get those things down so we could make changes fast and all of the communication was in order. We scratched our heads on that pace of play thing a little. But our kids have experienced that tempo. That's the main thing. We just want them to be able to adjust to the pace.

"We just impressed on our players that they are going to have to pick up the pace and the communication in the game."

Robinson said the pace of play was excellent in practice Wednesday. He wasn't sure everyone clicked in Tuesday's practice, but it's improved as the week has progressed.

"To be honest, I'm not sure all 11 were going really well yesterday, but I think we were today," he said. "Today, all 11 came to work. I think yesterday there was some ebb and flow to practice. Today it was solid all the way through."

Robinson likes what he sees from Tenarius "Tank" Wright at defensive end. There was special mention of the way he's performed this year. Robinson noted it started last year against A&M.

"Tank has been huge," Robinson said. "The idea is to get him out there on the field and let him cut it loose. What he does, quite honestly, is unmatched on our team. A lot of guys make plays when it comes to their side. He makes plays away. He's got that pursuit and is dogmatic when the play goes the other way. We don't have anyone like him that is ready to roll when he first hits the field."

Defensive end Jake Bequette called it "instinct." He said Wright has that intangible.

"He's very talented and he knows how to find the ball," Bequette said. "He's really come on since that game last year and I think you just see an instinct to find the ball."

Wright, Bequette and the rotation of ends the Hogs played last year against A&M got pressure from the outside. A&M has improved its pass protection since then.

"You see that they have improved week to week," Bequette said. "But from where we were at this point last year to right now, I think you'd have to say our defense has improved a lot, too. We are a lot better than we were then. I think both teams are much better in all phases.

"A lot is said about their quarterback, their passing game and the playmakers they have, but I think an underrated area of their team is the run game. They may not run it a lot, but when they do, they have been good at it. We've got to play the run, too."

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