Sunday Tape Evaluation: Disappointment

With only 37 snaps, it didn't take long to evaluate the offensive tape Sunday. Assistant coaches called it a "disappointing" performance in a 52-7 loss to South Carolina.

Arkansas offensive coaches didn't have much film to review on Sunday. The Hogs snapped it just 37 times for 248 yards. In a strange twist, they averaged 6.76 yards per play, but because of three turnovers and only two third-down conversions, had nothing to show for it in a 52-7 loss to South Carolina.

"I've had my tail kicked before," offensive line coach Sam Pittman said, "but never been part of anything like that, just 37 plays."

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney called it "a tough day. There are several calls I'd like to have back. We need to go back to the (drawing) board. We had a nice drive at the start, then after the turnover, all of the wind went out of our sails."

The turnover in question was a pass interception thrown by Brandon Allen that led to the go-ahead touchdown by the Gamecocks.

"It didn't get a heckuva lot better after that," said Chaney, the quarterbacks coach. "Everything we did was sloppy and I couldn't get a feel. I was off (on play calling). We didn't have anything clicking. We had four explosive plays in our first 10, but we didn't have much after that.

"I thought we came out ready. But with the turnover, everything went away. You can't have that. Our jobs as coaches are to get them ready to play. I don't feel too great about anything we did Saturday. Brandon was shaky after the interception. I'd say his confidence was fine until then and that's just part of the development of a quarterback. You can't let one play effect you, good or bad. You have to clean it off and go on.

"We are going to stick with Brandon and watch him grow. We had adversity and didn't handle it. The way to handle it is to focus on execution and go make a play. It's execution all the way around."

Defensive coordinator Chris Ash got a lot more tape to grade, but wasn't pleased with much of it. Carolina made 537 yards on 89 snaps, an average of 6.0.

"It was not very good," Ash said. "The tape was very disappointing. We started the game with alignment mistakes and they continued. (Carolina) did everything we practiced against all week. We didn't read our keys the right way. We didn't fit the run. And the mistakes continued.

"It was one of the most embarrassing games that I've been a part of as a coach. Honestly, I can't recall being a part of something like that.

"When I watched the film, I saw a defense that didn't align to formations right that we practiced. I saw a defense that didn't fit the runs the right way like we practiced. I saw a defense that doesn't use its hands very well, doesn't tackle very well. I see a defense that's not very aggressive, not very violent.

"Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of that this year and we've got to get that corrected and move in the right direction.

"Kids work hard. Kids care. But the ultimate test is what we put on film on Saturdays and yesterday's film was not very good. Can't hide it, can't deny it. I've been saying that we've been getting better, but we're still a long way away in a lot of areas.

"And each one of those areas happened to be a problem on Saturday. If you can't align, you can't read your keys, you can't fit right, you can't get off blocks, you can't tackle, you're not going to have any success. I don't care what we call, who we play, it doesn't matter."

There were times where the Hogs could have gotten off the field with a play.

"We had several chances to change the game by making plays and we didn't," Ash said. "Jared Collins made a nice break on the ball, but he didn't get the interception. That was a chance for a big play."

Collins split time at cornerback with Carroll Washington, in place of injured Will Hines.

"They both did about the same," Ash said. "Carroll had a chance to make a play on third down and he didn't bat it down. Those are plays you have to make to get off the field."

Ash said the Hogs will continue to explore options at linebacker where Martrell Spaight will return after missing the Carolina game with a knee injury. Freshman Brooks Ellis and sophomore Otha Peters may get more time, too.

Jarrett Lake made nine tackles at middle linebacker, but Ash said it was inconsistent play all the way around at many positions on defense.

"I'm not sure we have a natural middle linebacker on the team," Ash said. "Jarrett is our best option right now. He made some plays. But we don't have anyone who can do all of the things we want and get us lined up right at middle linebacker."

Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said tackle Robert Thomas would be hard to replace. Thomas sustained a broken bone in his leg and is done for the season.

"We will miss his physical presence on the field and we will also miss his presence off the field," Partridge said. "I can't say enough about the growth he's made as a player and a person. The (NFL) scouts didn't have him on the radar before we came, but they do now. He's grown up as a man. He will have our full recommendation both for football and for after football."

Darius Philon will slide into the starting spot, with DeMarcus Hodge as the backup. Horace Arkadie (6-4, 303, soph.) will back up Byran Jones at the other tackle.

"Horace has not played a game snap, but he's been impressive in our developmental practices," Partridge said. "He had a very nice practice tonight. I was telling him that he's made the same kind of jump off the field as Darius Philon did last spring. It usually starts there and I think it did for Horace earlier this fall. Now, he's ready to make a jump on the field, too."

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