Money Down

Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema talks about how important third down - or money down as he calls it - will be when the Razorbacks (3-2, 0-1) visit Florida (3-1, 2-0) on Saturday night.

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema sees a team in Florida that he would like his Razorbacks to look somewhat like sooner than later.

Florida has a ball-control offense and a dominating defense and limits the amount of possessions a team has by converting its third downs at a 52 percent clip and keeping its foes to an 18 percent average on those downs.

"It is a team that kind of believes in the same things we do – playing solid defense, trying to monopolize the clock and having guys play with great effort," Bielema said. "That is exactly what we are going to face.

The No. 18 Gators (3-2, 2-0), who are averaging almost 40 minutes of possession time in 60-minute games, host the Razorbacks (3-2, 0-1) for a 6 p.m. contest on Saturday night.

Minutes before Bielema did his time on the teleconference, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones was asked a question about Florida and head coach Will Muschamp.

Tennessee had just 14 possessions, 57 snaps and 220 yards total offense against the Gators, who then held Kentucky to just 7 possessions, 47 plays overall offensively and just 173 yards of total offense.

Florida – 30 of 58 on third-down conversions - is averaging 38:58 per in time of possession per game while its opponents are averaging 21:02 with just 8 successful third-win conversions out of 45.

"I think a lot of times when your offense is sitting on the bench, you create a mindset of a little bit of panic and now you have individuals doing a little bit more than is required of them," Jones said. "Everyone just has to do their job and manage it.

"Offensively you can't go three-and-out," Jones added. "You can't put them back on the field. So I think the big thing is just managing expectations and understanding what you are in store for in regard to the game."

Bielema knows how important third downs are going to be against the Gators, the SEC's top defense that is giving up just 202 yards per game and just an average of 59 rushing.

"I believe very, very strongly in our philosophy in success on third down," Bielema said. "It is one of our weekly team goals – offense, defense, that is where you define yourself.

"We call it money down here," Bielema added. "Offensively, it is where you decide to stay on the field or defensively you decide to get off of it.

"They have been efficient and that is probably a major factor in their climb to where they are today and the kids understand it," Bielema added. "A lot of that gets down to as a coach you've got a plan and you've got an idea of what you have got to do, but the players have to execute it.

"So give Will a lot of credit on what he and his staff on what they have been able to instill in their kids," Bielema continued.

Florida's offense seems to have gotten a boost from redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy, who has filled in for starter Jeff Driscoll, who was lost to a season-ending injury that occurred against Tennessee.

Murphy, who completed his first 12 passes against Kentucky, is 23-of-32 passing for 290 yards and also has 120 yards rushing.

"I think Tyler does some (good) things," Bielema said. "First, he is a threat with the running game and the throwing game. He is very efficient in his looks and his passes. It is a different look." Texas A&M beat Arkansas 45-33 in a game that seems to have given Razorbacks fans some hope.

Bielema was both pleased and disappointed in what he saw in last Saturday's loss to the 10th-ranked team in the country.

"We were disappointed in our loss to A&M," Bielema said. "I thought we made progress in some areas, but we are not over that hump yet. I really like the way they have continue to believe and have faith in where they are going.

"I thought a number of guys probably played one of their more complete games for four quarters, which you have to do in the SEC," Bielema added.


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