Alfred Davis has always been one of the best quotes on the Arkansas football team, but now he is also one of the best players.
Put those together and you have a loquacious guy who can't wait to talk about his No. 8 Razorbacks (10-2) and their Sugar Bowl date with No. 6 Ohio State (11-1) Jan. 4th in New Orleans.
"It's a great feeling and it is something fun for the team," Davis said. "It is a big step for us and the fans. The people around here are going to be going crazy. All of them won't get to go to the game because the stadium only seats so much, but at the same time we know we (will) have fans sitting at home watching and cheering us on with family and friends."
Ohio State has one of the nation's top players in quarterback Terrell Pryor and the lofty ranking, but it's clear that the Buckeyes certainly don't scare the Razorbacks.
"We take them on just we like we do everybody else – we play in the SEC and it don't get to better than that," Davis said. "Terrell Pryor is a great quarterback, but he is just like the quarterbacks we have played in the past. We just have to rise to the occasion."
Davis (6-1, 326), who grew up in College Park, Georgia along with Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, said that the Arkansas' 2010 schedule has prepared his squad for anything.
"Playing the schedule that we have this year is like playing in the playoffs every week," Davis said. "You are prepared to play a team like Ohio State rather than playing a schedule like Boise State and then you go play a big team and go get mollywhopped."
In 2009, the Razorbacks' defense was the worst in the 12th. This season Arkansas is fifth in total defense while turning from a weakness to a strength.
"I feel like now we play more together," Davis said. "Last season, it was like one guy would miss an assignment on each play. Now we hold each other responsible for plays like that and we don't have those plays that go downfield for 80 yards, those big runs for 70. That did a lot for the team."
Davis, who has one sack among his 22 tackles, is part of a six-man defensive tackle rotation that has flourished together this season – especially during the Razorbacks' current seven-game winning streak.
That rotation also includes sophomore DeQuinta Jones (34 tackles), true freshman Byran Jones (23), junior Lavunce Askew (21), Zach Stadther (10) and senior Patrick Jones (8).
"Being able to rotate with the other inside techniques and we have six guys that you can believe in and go in and go all out repeatedly," Davis said. "When two guys are in, there are four that are resting. Our legs are saved, we get the same amount of reps and none of us are tired. It helps the entire defense play faster.
"It really helps the linebackers because they get to run free," Davis said. "We have played the run much better this year because of those fresh legs."
Davis is a big fan of the even temperament of defensive coordinator Willy Robinson.
"Coach Robinson is not scared of nobody," Davis said. "When you go into big games like LSU, Auburn and Alabama, some coaches would walk around and be all nervous. My uncle coached high school football and he would walk around the locker room and scratch his head. Coach Robinson is just calm, cool and collected. When he comes in at halftime, whether we are down or ahead, he is the same every Saturday. I think this is a big key for us."
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