Wednesday Grid Update, 11/12

It may be cold, but that's not the focus of the Arkansas defense. It's the LSU ground game and punishing runner Leonard Fournette that has the focus for the Razorbacks.

Trey Flowers knows what to expect Saturday night and he's not talking about cold weather. He knows what he'll see from the LSU offense, a downhill running attack.

The senior Arkansas defensive end will see his fourth LSU offense and all of them have been the same.

"They will have one of the top running games in college football," Flowers said. "They will have downhill powerful runners."

The good news is that Arkansas might be better prepared to stop the run after the arrival of Robb Smith, the first-year defensive coordinator.

"Coach Smith brought us a run stopping defense," Flowers said. "He taught us how to stop that kind of an attack. It's a new scheme with new technique.

"I think our defense has turned the corner and it feels good. We do the things in games that we do in practice. We execute our calls and we'd like to get some wins to go with our defense now. You want to get wins out of a good defense and we'd like to get some turnovers, too. But, it feels like we've turned the corner.

"Coach Smith got here and said we are going to stop the run. He told us he can handle getting beat, but not beat up. It came from Coach Smith. I have faith in the technique we are playing."

Linebacker Martrell Spaight said it's a matter of gaining confidence in what is being taught.

“Mainly we have just been telling ourselves we are a great team and we can go out there and do great things, but it’s just the small things that really hurt us big time," Spaight said. "We have been really focusing on the small details, just going out there and getting better everyday and knowing we have the opportunity to be one of the best defenses in the SEC.”

Flowers said it's getting that win that will bring back The Boot, the trophy awarded to the winner of the LSU-Arkansas game, that is the focus this week, not the weather.

"That's what we talked about after practice, getting The Boot," Flowers said. "That's all we are talking about, getting the boot, not the weather or the losing streak. It's about getting The Boot."

Defensive line coach Rory Segrest said a little too much is being made of the forecast of frigid conditions for Saturday night. Game time temperatures in the 20s are in the forecast, plus a good chance of a wintry mix.

"I've (coached) in a couple of snow games," Segrest said of his time in the NFL at Philadelphia. "You can play in that kind of weather. We don't focus on the weather, but in winning a game. That's how you handle it. Cold or snow is just part of it."

Safety Alan Turner said there were no issues with cold weather in the practices this week, all conducted outside.

"The whole team embraces it," he said. "We had a lot of energy today in practice. I'm just ready to play a game, snow or not. It doesn't matter."

It's a huge game for Turner, a product of Junction City on the Arkansas-Louisiana line. He grew up around LSU fans, including members of his own family.

"I've tried to convert them all to Arkansas," he said. "But there are still a few LSU fans around. It's a big game for me. A lot of family members root for LSU so when I go home there is a lot of trash talking."

Turner knows the LSU offense features a strong ground game, but the threat of the pass is there, too.

"They are going to try to run it and then bring the play action," he said. "And, their quarterback, Anthony Jennings, has some pretty good legs."

On the threat of the Jennings scrambles, Segrest said, "It's important to stay in our lanes and keep (Jennings) in the pocket. He's got the ability to hurt you with the keeper, too. But it all starts with the running game with LSU. They have a physical offensive line and backs that break tackles."

Segrest sees plenty of broken tackles on tape with the physical style of true freshman Leonard Fournette, a 230-pounder who leads a strong group of LSU runners.

"You see him run through tackles," Segrest said. "You aren't going to arm tackle him. You better move your feet, get in front of him and then drive through him."

An offensive line led by senior left tackle La'el Collins is a force, too. He also praised senior center Elliott Porter.

"He's a great player," Segrest said. "He's solid in pass protection and solid as a run blocker. He does everything well. That's a very good group up front. The center is a great player, too."

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