Arkansas got back to practice on Tuesday and it was business as usual despite the fact that starting quarterback Brandon Allen's truck burned early Monday morning.
In fact, both his offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and a couple of his go-to offensive threats said that Allen just brushed the incident off.
“He had a good practice,” Chaney said. “I was pleased with him. He went out and performed well and it was a good day for him. I couldn't tell anything. I think he is ready to go play a football game. I am excited to watch him play. I have said all along that he has shown a lot of toughness through all of this, He didn't have a good year (in 2013), but we all know that and he is ready to play.”
Razorback junior tailback Jonathan Williams agreed with Chaney about Allen's mindset.
“He acted like nothing ever happened,” He’s going to keep moving along and we’re going to keep moving along.”
That attitude is very impressive to Williams, who watched the quarterback take criticism from fans during a sub-par season in which he played injured.
“I was talking to him a couple weeks ago and I was telling him, you know, it has to be kind of hard dealing with some of the stuff that he’s dealt with,” Williams said. “He just shrugged it off and said it doesn’t bother him. I mean, it genuinely doesn’t bother him. He’s not just saying that to try to stop talking about it. He just goes throughout his day as if it’s normal.”
Senior offensive lineman Brey Cook said Allen showed leadership during the workout.
“He was good,” Cook said. “He came in there and really took over that leadership role today. We struggled in some areas, and he was able to step up and pull us along.”
Arkansas was back out on the practice field for its first full practice since Friday's mock game.
The time off was big for the players according to Hunter Henry, who noted he felt refreshed by head coach Bret Bielema giving the team a mini-break after a long preseason camp.
“I feel better than ever,” Henry said. “ Coming off camp, Coach B was smart with us and he gave us some time off so we could get our legs back.”
That was also Chaney's assessment after the Tuesday practice.
“It appears that way,” Chaney said. “I think we are ready to go play. We will be right bty Saturday. We have some wrinkles in the game plan that we have got to work through liker every team does on Tuesday before a game. We will get through that and keep right on going.”
Auburn's defense is coordinated by former South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, who was actually at Arkansas for 26 days before going on to the Gamecocks.
“They are really good,” Chaney said. “...I think Coach Johnson is very good. He is a very talented coordinator. They are schematically solid, they don't make mistakes, they play very hard and they have athletic ability and talent. That is what you are dealing with and a team that is accustomed to winning games. That above all else is what you are dealing with.”
That defense is led by end Gabe Wright (6-3, 284).
“The talent level up from is the key to their defense in my opinion,” Chaney said. “Their secondary is good but the difference makers are Gabe up front and they have got a few kids if you don't watch them and get a lot of people on them they will wreck whatever plan I have. Any team that has game-wreckers has a chance to be a good defense. You have got to have game-wreckers to be a good D and in my opinion they have them and they are located up front.”
Chaney was asked if his offense had to keep up with Auburn's.
“I don't worry too much about them,” Chaney said. “Our job is to go out and execute a play, move the ball down the field and score points. Ultimately, our objective is to get one more point than they do so whatever that happens to be is what we are after. As far as keeping up with them, I don't look at it like that. We just go execute and do what we do to the best of our abilities.”
The OC believes he has a better wide receiver group this season and that is quarterback will be protected by the offensive line that Sam Pittman sends out.
“I like these kids,” Chaney said. “They have worked their hind end off. Coach has talked about those five kids and they had another good day today. They are ready to go out and perform and hopefully we can deliver the ball accurately enough for them to catch it, protect the quarterback and everything that goes into that passing game. They need to be where they are supposed to be and we have to throw it accurately and Sam's boys have got to protect them.
“There are so many questions that I don't know (the answers to) until we get down there and play so I am excited about that,” Chaney continued.
Tuesday Grid Update, 8/26
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