State of the Hogs: Questions

Arkansas won the game, but the big plays on defense were still missing. The Hogs started fast, but didn't have the finish.

There were some positives as Arkansas defeated Troy, 38-28, Saturday night to go 3-0 against the easy part of the schedule.

There was a 24-0 start and Ronnie Wingo's first 100-yard game, 80 before halftime. The Razorbacks -- thanks to two missed field goals by the Trojans -- had some success in their first defensive red zone situations.

But the Razorbacks were scratching their heads about losing the the second half, 21-14. And defensive coordinator Willy Robinson had a question about the lack of sacks. There was only one against Troy, two for the season. Robinson also pointed out that his cornerbacks might be a question mark as they head to Alabama this week.

"We've got the best pass rushers we've had," Robinson said. "And we just aren't getting any pressure."

Robinson didn't like the way cornerbacks (Isaac Madison and Darius Winston) played the deep ball throughout the game. He said their problems finding the ball in one-on-one situations probably indicates "a lack of courage. That's something we work on every single day, but they didn't turn and look up. We've got a question mark there in the secondary."

No one had to point out that there isn't much time to fix those issues. The Hogs head to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama this week. If there was any good news, it's that Alabama is not Troy.

"It definitely will be a different challenge," said Bobby Petrino, head coach. "Alabama is a power team. They run play-action, then throw it deep. Today, it was a spread team. And Troy is good at it."

Robinson said, "We've got to make a 180 degree turn. Alabama is going to try to runs the ball. We are going to see what it's like on the other side of the mountain with much bigger people next week. It's time to go against better players in the SEC."

Robinson had seen the numbers. The Trojans amassed 457 yards on 83 snaps. They attempted 63 passes, completing 36.

"That's 63 passes with only one sack and one interception," Robinson said. "We gave up too many long plays. Somewhere along the line, we have to get some pressure."

It wasn't a case of playing vanilla in the front. Robinson said the Hogs tried to go after Troy quarterback Corey Robinson.

"We (called) pressures quite a bit," he said. "He gets it out of his hands quickly. We sure did try. I don't know why we aren't getting there."

Thankfully, the Hogs made enough plays at the start while building that 24-0 lead.

"Obviously, the key to the game was stopping them from scoring touchdowns in the critical zone to start the game," Robinson said. "They were down there four times and we kept them out. But we gave up too much. We've got to make more plays."

DeQuinta "Dede" Jones was disappointed the Hogs didn't get more pressure on the Troy quarterback.

"It was very difficult to get there," he said. "Coach turned us loose to go get him, but he got the ball out of his hand in a hurry.

"Give credit to Troy. They are a good football team and they have great athletes.

"But I felt like our defense softened up as we went along. We have to step it up."

Free safety Tramain Thomas got the Hogs' only interception, but he said the Hogs were "fading" at the end.

"Troy made some adjustments and we didn't," he said. "We started off fast, but we didn't finish the game."

There was other talk of finishing better. In fact, Arkansas playmaker Joe Adams recalled that finishing was the problem against Alabama last year.

"We have to go watch this film and see why we didn't finish and then make sure we finish this week against Alabama," Adams said. "I made some mistakes. I was trying to do something with the punt that I fumbled. I should have just fair caught it. And on my other fumble, I was not carrying the ball the right way. I have to correct those mistakes.

"We started fast, but we didn't finish right. Both those fumbles were my fault."

Quarterback Tyler Wilson said it was a case of a "flat" second half.

"That was disappointing," Wilson said. "For us, 38 (points) is not good enough. We demonstrated what we could do in the first half. We should score every time we go on the field."

Petrino talked about the lack of execution. Wilson knew what he was talking about.

"Troy was bringing (blitzes) from everywhere and we weren't executing," Wilson said. "We've got to clean that up. I imagine we are going to see a lot of that. We've got to get that right.

"I have to get better at going to the run game if we want to be the offense we want. The run game was better, but there is still some improvement to make.

"Obviously, we've got a lot of work to do. I just left my teammates and that's what we were talking about. We want to play all four quarters. We'll have to step up when we go to Alabama."

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