Thursday Grid Update, 10/9

Jim Chaney won't be surprised by Alabama's ability to stop the run. He knows the Hogs have their work cut out for them with the Crimson Tide defense. Here's the practice report from Thursday after meeting with coordinators Robb Smith and Chaney.

Arkansas offensive coordinator knows what to expect from Alabama's front seven, big and stature and wonderfully coached.

"I know that sounds cliche, but that's what they are and if you look through the years, what they always have been," Chaney said after the Hogs finished their work week Thursday in preparation for a 5 p.m. date with Alabama.

"The history of Alabama is that you expect them to be very good up front. You are talking about talent and stature. It's no secret that they've had that for awhile and it's the secret to having success in the SEC."

Still, the Hogs plan to go straight at the Tide's front.

"People don't consistently block them, but we are going to at them," Chaney said. "Can you sustain that for 60 minutes against them, I don't know. I look forward to watching to see if we can."

The Hogs have worked on playing a 60-minute game over the last two weeks as they enjoyed a bye week.

"I think our guys have bought in," Chaney said. "There are individual issues at the ends of games. I think they do understand them now and we can go about fixing them."

Chaney said it will come down to understanding the Alabama defense and the last-second movements of the safeties. Alabama, under Nick Saban, has been historically good at disguising the safety movements until after the snap.

"They do it as well as anyone," Chaney said of the safety movement. "It's complex, especially on third down. There are no pre-snap reads (for the quarterback). It's about post-snap reads. Everything changes after the snap."

Chaney used a fighting scenario to explain.

"Just imagine you are in a fight," he said, "and you closed your eyes at the start. You open them and try not to get hit. You are going to get hit some."

Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith said the Hogs are trying to complicate things for Alabama quarterback Blake Sims in the same way. But, he's seen Sims adjust to post-snap changes.

"They've coached him well," he said. "He's been able to count what is happening as far as the box very well. You hope to hide things as well as possible, but that's what this game is all about.

"What we have to do is make sure of their personnel and get lined up right. They are constantly changing their groupings and make it hard on you. It's as close to what you see in the NFL as anyone you play. It reminds me of what we saw last year (at Tampa Bay) every week. They do it well.

"Sims is athletic and can make plays with his feet. So we have to adjust to their personnel, then know that he's going to take off at times. But the big thing is their groupings. They get you in a bad alignment and then they find Amari Cooper, their great receiver on the perimeter. but they will bring him across the middle and make it tough on your linebackers. Linebacker play is critical because you are having to play run and pass in the middle of the field."

Both Chaney and Smith said the Hogs are well prepared with the bye week.

"This was a good week for us as coaches as well as players," Chaney said. "It gave me a little more time to study them and our players have practiced well. We got started on (Alabama) last week and you saw that really show starting on Sunday night and then we followed that with good practices Tuesday, Wednesday and today."

Smith said he's seen the excitement build with each practice.

"I think we are excited as coaches to play this game," he said. "And, I think our players are, too. I think it's a fun game for our fans. You have the excitement with the '64 team coming back and some of the greats of the game.

"I got a chance to meet Jerry Jones last week. I know some more greats will be here this weekend. I'm looking forward to meeting a guy like Coach (Jimmy) Johnson."

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