Thursday Grid Update, 9/25

Time of possession isn't the key stat for offensive coordinator Jim Chaney. He's only concerned with scoring points and securing a victory. Chaney and defensive coordinator Robb Smith met with the media after Arkansas' practice on Thursday.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney knows most think the best way to beat Texas A&M is to play keep away, grinding away clock time and limiting possessions for a prolific offense led by quarterback Kenny Hill.

For the second time this week, Chaney downplayed that thinking. He said time of possession is not THE stat that he'll look for as the game develops. He wants points.

"Really, I could give you all the cliches," Chaney said. "If we can use the clock, that's great. But the main thing I want is to score points. We have to score points.

"We are going to do what we do. If time of possession ends up favoring us, great. We just want a W."

Chaney and defensive coordinator Robb Smith met with the media after Thursday's practice. The Hogs head to Arlington, Texas on Friday. They'll have a practice in Cowboys AT&T Stadium in the afternoon, then meet the Aggies at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Time of possession was a fun stat for the Hogs against Texas Tech, a team that runs a similar alignment, but isn't nearly as good in the running game. Arkansas limited the Red Raiders to just a shade over six minutes in the second half two weeks ago at Lubbock.

It's a tape that Arkansas defensive coordinator knows is getting a lot of computer time this week in both camps because of the similarity between the Tech spread and the A&M attack.

"I think I said this earlier in the week," Smith said. "That tape is beneficial to us and to (A&M). There are some similarities."

Smith said it's clear that the Hogs are going to need their nickel package, just as it did two weeks ago in Lubbock. They played a lot of base with Randy Ramsey at strong linebacker last week against a ground oriented Northern Illinois attack. But this might be a day when cornerbacks are more useful. Smith is glad Tevin Mitchel is back. Mitchel played a big role at Lubbock.

"Whether we use him inside on the slot or outside, we're excited to have Tevin," Smith said, obviously not tipping his hand on where he'll put Mitchel.

The Aggies throw heavily to their slot receiver, but it might be several players in a big rotation. Smith knows he's going to have to rotate defensive backs.

"Certainly, they play a lot of receivers and you have to give Kenny Hill credit, he sees the field and uses all of them," Smith said. "We'll have to keep our defensive backs fresh."

Smith wasn't sure how big a role that Ramsey would have in the rotation.

"He's going to get to play in spots," Smith said. "It depends on what A&M does (formation wise). They do use the tight end and the fullback and in those sets, you'll see the Sam linebacker."

Chaney might be rotating running backs more this week after Korliss Marshall had his second straight good week of practice.

"He did have a good week, and was better on the details this week," Chaney said. "I think the team had a good week. Tuesday was like usual, where you make some mistakes because you are putting in new things. But our Wednesday and Thursday practices were very good."

Chaney worked with A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin at Purdue and has great respect for the way the Aggies move the ball. But he gets no personal satisfaction from a so-called play calling matchup.

"I don't look at what they do," Chaney said. "I've not seen any of their offense this week. I'm totally consumed with what they do on offense. That's enough for me."

It's an improved A&M defense. The Aggies allowed an average of 32.2 points last year. The 2014 version is allowing just 11.8 points per game, but is giving up 224 rushing yards, just 62nd in national stats.

"They seem to be tackling well," Chaney said. "The back half is tackling well and they don't have any glaring holes.

"For us, it is the cliches. It's hold onto the ball, secure it. Don't give them extra possessions."

When the Hogs try to protect in the passing game, they'll have to account for true freshman Myles Garrett, a quick defensive end with 5.5 sacks, tops in the SEC with 1.38 per game.

"He's greasy," Chaney said. "He has the ability to wreck your game plan. It's hard to get a handle on him. That's what I mean by greasy.

"They want to rush you. They can get you with some exotic pressures. We have to get a hat on a hat, but what they do is move the hats pretty fast."

Chaney said wide receiver Demetrius Wilson, out last week with an ankle injury, had a good week of practice. He was sore early in the week, but made good progress and is expected to play against the Aggies.

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