Arkansas wide receiver coach Michael Smith knows the passing game numbers for the 52-7 loss to South Carolina. Actually, it wasn't numbers, it was singular. It was one catch for 20 yards and that came in the first few seconds of the game. There were no wide receiver catches by the Razorbacks after the third play.
"It's been tough," Smith said after practice Tuesday. "I was very surprised and disappointed. The kids know that.
"We are not giving up and we are not going to accept that. If they got booed and people are critical, they deserve it and I deserve it. We will get it done."
Smith said the receivers didn't play well for the second straight week. Dropped passes were a big part of the loss at Florida and they happened against Carolina, too.
"I said it after the Florida game, that it was lack of focus," Smith said. "We had two drops against Carolina. Keon Hatcher had a drop. Javontee Herndon didn't catch one that was a little behind, but we are supposed to make that catch, too. We do in practice. Passes are rarely perfect and receivers have to go get them."
The task this week is more difficult with a trip to No. 1 Alabama with a fine secondary, including a lot of press coverage at cornerback. In a unique situation, Alabama head coach Nick Saban considers himself the cornerback position coach, indicating the importance he sees in that area of play.
"They have big, physical corners and they do play a lot of press," Smith said. "They are fast and physical. They have been very good at that position, probably the best. To be the best, you have to play the best. Alabama has great players and unbelievable coaches.
"Coach Saban is unique with the way he spends time with the corners. I think Bob Stoops did that at one point, but you don't hear of that much.
"That just makes it a bigger challenge and more fun for us. I look forward to it with that in mind."
Smith said it has been a good start to practice on Tuesday after a down Sunday, typical after a loss.
"They were disappointed, sure," Smith said. "But we turned the page today. We know we didn't play the type of ball capable of this team."
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney talked of the disappointment of the offensive play, too.
"We didn't play like we have in other games," Chaney said. "We had demonstrated we can make some plays. We can be a good team. We had been in other games. I think we can be a great team.
"We probably got away from our identity some. But mainly we didn't play well. We want to be a downhill, physical offense with a dose of play-action passing. We are going to go back to that."
Quarterback Brandon Allen completed just four of 12 passes for 30 yards. There has been a lot of focus on the play of that position this week.
"It's a polarizing position," Chaney said. "It's always been that way. When the team is winning, it's all good there. When you are losing, it's going to be the place where criticism comes."
Chaney said Allen struggled with his emotions on Sunday, but he sees a "bounce back" in practice this week.
"He will bounce back," Chaney said. "It's a lot like the teaching profession. You just keep teaching and at some point it all falls in place. That's what will happen with this bunch. We are still teaching."
Tight end Hunter Henry said "it's all about responding to adversity. You have a three and out, you have to respond. There's a big emphasis this week about response. We all had too many mistakes. We are trying to play perfect this week. The whole week, it's about no mistakes and playing perfect."
Henry appeared on the John Mackey Watch List this week, the award for the nation's top tight end. Ironically, Henry didn't have a catch last week. Are teams double covering the freshman receiver? He was the primary receiver on two plays last week, but was not open.
"I wouldn't say double cover," Henry said. "There is a focus. But I don't see it being (double)."
Henry and Smith both said there are some new plays in the offense this week.
"We have added some stuff," Smith said. "I think there are some things that will help."
Henry said, "We are going to open things up and also try to be physical in the run game. They are a physical team and we have to match that physicality. The big emphasis is no turnovers. We turned the page from the last game on Sunday and moved on to Alabama."
Tuesday Grid Update, 10/15
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