Jim Chaney had remorse Sunday, but it had nothing to do with a stuck elevator at halftime in the 45-21 loss to Auburn. He wished he had gone with a new second-half script instead of going with what worked in the first half when the Razorbacks played the defending SEC champs to a draw.
"What we had in the first half was working," Chaney said Sunday night when he met with the media. "Do you do new stuff, or what was similar to what we did in the first half?
"The third-and-4 play after the turnover, it was a play that we'd run and had been very good. It was a simple dive, but we had mental errors and we lost yards. We had mental mistakes on that play.
"We didn't have those mental mistakes in the first half like we did on some of the same plays in the second half. Ellis (Johnson, Auburn defensive coordinator) was making some of the same calls in the first half, but we picked them up and hurt them. We didn't in the second half.
"Then, we got behind the sticks because we weren't winning first down and those calls (by Johnson) were a lot better."
Chaney was part of the press box staff that got stranded for over five minutes at halftime when one of two Jordan-Hare elevators (the one closest to the Arkansas locker room) stuck halfway down. Chaney was with assistants Randy Shannon, Barry Lunney and Clay Jennings, plus some graduate assistants.
"I asked them politely to get it going, but it didn't budge about halfway down," Chaney said. "At the end of the day, it had nothing to do with the game, zero. Now, it wasn't a lot of fun. We played some cards."
Actually, they did not play cards and it's clear that no one was happy on the elevator. It eventually did go down, but at that point Chaney, a large man, figured he wasn't going to get to the locker room and back to the press box by the start of the second half, so all returned to the booth to get on headsets with assistants and players.
"We used a different elevator after that," he said. "I wasn't getting back on that elevator. That wouldn't have been a good idea with a bunch of big men. I'm probably the reason it got stuck.
"It's about seven minutes for me to get through the stands and across the field so it would have served no purpose to go to the locker room as late as we got down."
Chaney preferred to talk about his play-calling than the elevator.
"Sometimes it is just play-calling," he said. "Do you go with a new scheme at halftime? Or do you go back and run what's working? Why change if it is working? But it's a double-edge sword if you change and it doesn't work. Why did you change when you were kicking their tail when you went in at the half?"
Chaney liked what he saw of quarterback Brandon Allen. He did not find fault with another pick six, a touchdown return that gave the Tigers a two score lead.
"That's just football," Chaney said. "I left the stadium feeling that he played pretty solid. He had his best accuracy against a quality opponent. He was calm. I mentioned to coach (Bret Bielema) that he may have erred on the side of caution a little bit, but that's what we want.
"I thought his footwork was good. He might have slid in the pocket once or twice, but good things happen when he gets out of there. I thought he played pretty well."
Chaney said the offensive line did "good things," in particular right guard Denver Kirkland.
"Denver had the best game for us, against a quality defensive tackle," Chaney said. "I thought Sebastian (Tretola) did fine (in his first playing time)."
Defensive coordinator Robb Smith didn't have a lot of good things to say about his unit, except that they played hard.
"We had effort, but we had mistakes and we didn't wrap up," he said. "We lost the edge. We let them bounce out and we didn't box them up. We've got things to work on."
As far as changing personnel, Smith said, "We'll look at everyone, starting with me. We'll do what we can to get our best 11 out there. We didn't have a lot of high grades this week.
"I thought Alan Turner, our safety, did some good things. He made a TD saving tackle. But we had a lot of mistakes. Our corners had some plus and minus plays, but we gave up a lot of big plays. But it wasn't all on corners. We are a work in progress. There are positives all over the films, but 45 (points allowed) is not what we expected in any shape or fashion.
"In the first half, we fit the run game alright, but then in the second half there was yards after contact. And, we didn't have our eyes in the right place on play action. That's where the big plays came. Big plays mean big points."
Chaney feels play-callers remorse
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