It should be no surprise that a big part of Arkansas’ focus in practice during this off week has been getting better in the fourth quarter.
The Razorbacks seemingly had Texas A&M beat last Saturday before a plethora of offensive, defensive and kicking game mistakes in the fourth quarter allowed the Aggies to rally for for a 35-28 overtime win in Arlington, Texas.
“We started working today on what we called our perfect fourth quarter plays,” Arkansas junior quarterback Brandon Allen said after Wednesday’s practice. “What we had in the last game was some mental lapses on our execution and some of our plays.”
“We didn’t really run plays, we just go through a bunch of shifts and motions and the defense would make their calls and do everything that needed to do to stay in the right position,” Allen said.
“So we are kind of installing a period in practice that specifically works on fourth-quarter perfection by staying locked in at the end of practice,” Allen added.
Senior linebacker Martrell Spaight, who had a game-high and career-high 13 tackles against the Aggies, didn’t mince words about the loss.
“It was very devastating,” Spaight said. “A lot of players really couldn’t eat, I could tell. We were sick to our stomachs that we let the game slip away from us."
Spaight noted it was tough to watch the tape of the game.
“As you can see on the film, we actually shut down on the field a couple of times and they slipped behind us,” Spaight said. “Our main emphasis has been going against the offense and making sure we are mentally locked in. Make sure we have all of our details right and correct.”
Senior safety Alan Turner is trying to see the positives of how far Arkansas has come in a year.
“I mean it's always hard when you don't get the W but we saw some positives,” Turner said. “We want to take the positives and keep building with it but also we did some things at the end, we didn't play a whole four-quarter game together and an overtime together playing defense. We want to correct those things so we can play a full game.”
Spaight knows that Arkansas has to continue to play with an underdog mentality.
“We have to go out there with a big chip on our shoulder and try to get better every single day,” Spaight said. “We know we have a great team and we have to make sure we finish games out strong. That is our big emphasis.”
Allen noted that the Razorbacks had worked to move on to next week’s match-up with Alabama.
“We put the game behind us,” Allen said. “We know it was one that we had a good chance to win and we kind of let it go. This team is just naturally going to bounce back. I don’t think there is anyone worried about last week. They are just looking forward to Alabama in two weeks and we are doing everything we can to look forward to that.”
Allen believes his team will be up to the challenge this season against Alabama, a team that embarrassed the Razorbacks 52-0 in Tuscaloosa last season.
“We are going to play our style of football,” Allen said. “Obviously it is a very good team. Our style of offense, we are going to do what we do. We are very physical up front and we are going to have to make plays in the second half. It’s our job to move the football and score points on them.
“Our D is doing a great job and they have a great game plan – still in the making but a good game plan – and I have got a lot of confidence in them,” Allen said.
Wednesday Grid Update, 10/1
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