When Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith checked his phone after leaving the happy celebration after the 17-0 victory over LSU, there was pause for a chuckle.
There was the respect from his profession, led by a note from defensive guru Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots. Then, there was this from Smith's mother: Please shave!
Smith is among the many on the UA staff that is growing a beard to heighten awareness in November for prostate cancer, out of respect for retiring SEC commissioner Mike Slive, battling the disease.
Smith said it was after 3:30 in the morning before he went to bed, watching the game tape after getting home. He liked it as much as the first time.
“We made a few mistakes and we'll work to clean those up before we get started for Ole Miss,” Smith said on Sunday afternoon. “But there were a lot of very good things. We really tackled well. The first play of the game was a run play that went for lost yardage and that set the tone for the night.”
There were many highlights on that side of the ball, including a sack by Trey Flowers in the third quarter that pushed LSU back before a missed 47-yard field goal.
“That was a triple twist,” Smith said. “We put Trey at tackle and we twisted him behind Darius Philon and Martrell Spaight. They set it up for Trey and he made a great play.”
The Hogs limited LSU to just 123 total yards, just 36 net yards on the ground on 32 tries. LSU had averaged 397 total yards, 221 on the ground.
“It was a great night,” Smith said. “To see the look on the faces of our players when they came into the locker room was the greatest thing.”
Smith made a quick exit from the field when he saw fans swarm the field after the final horn.
“I came back out after I figured out what was going on,” Smith said. “Then, I got back to the ramp outside the locker room to try to greet each player. I was just happy for our players.
“A lot of people probably know how much work goes in to getting something like that. It was a wonderful feeling.”
Stopping the run was the goal.
“We made sure we had numbers to stop the run,” Smith said. “We had a lot of respect for their offensive line. We knew we had to commit to the run. We tackled well and limited yards after contact.”
LSU had to retool the inside of the offensive line during the game when center Elliott Porter was injured. The Tigers finished the game with three different starters at the two guards spots and at center because of the shuffling.
Smith said that allowed the Hogs to focus a few more stunts into the inside gaps and that produced pressure on passer Anthony Jennings.
“What we did well was our play in the red zone, forcing two field goals,” Smith said. “We had great energy there.”
The Hogs scored on three of their four chances in the red zone, two with touchdowns. Jonathan Williams cashed the first with a 1-yard run on third-and-goal. Alex Collins scored on a 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter, on a third-and-1.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney was disappointed the Hogs didn't score on a sneak ahead of the Williams run in the second quarter.
“We were going to line up and run the sneak before they got set,” Chaney said. “But the back judge stood over the ball and let them line up, get nine people in that gap. We didn't sub so I didn't understand that.”
The Hogs made that a moot point with great blocking on the Williams dive over the top. With the rest of the line going low, left guard Sebastian Tretola took out the only upright defender, LSU middle linebacker Kendall Beckwith. Tretola popped him right in the chest just ahead of Williams.
“I thought Alex made a great run on the one in the fourth quarter,” Chaney said. “He stepped over the penetration and we did a good job on the back side.”
Chaney was pleased with the play of junior quarterback Brandon Allen.
“There are probably about two plays I didn't like,” Chaney said. “He didn't see the linebacker in the two-minute drill and almost flipped it to him. But the rest of the night, he was very good, very calm.
“I think he converted some big third downs in the passing game. We were 10 of 17 and that's pretty good. We've actually been decent all year. That's something we've got confidence with right now.
“There was a throw with Brandon going to his left on third-and-11, a great route by Keon Hatcher and just a wonderful throw. A lot of quarterbacks have trouble with that throw, going left. But Brandon had practiced it well in practice and we went to it in this game.”
Moving the pocket worked well on several of those left rollouts.
“We knew we were going to have to give some help to our tackles against those ends,” Chaney said. “No one has blocked those guys all year. And, we are facing good ones against Ole Miss and again with Missouri the last two weeks.”
LSU coach Les Miles thought Chaney was “creative” in his calls.
“I don't know about that,” Chaney said. “We didn't exactly go up and down the field.”
Chaney did enjoy the post-game celebration. He admitted there were tears of emotions. The fans on the field reminded him of some celebrations at Purdue.
“I reflect back on the beginning years at Purdue,” he said. “They hadn't had much success. The crowds came down on the field. It was neat.
“Our fans were awesome. It was a neat experience last night.”
Chaney does not think there will be a letdown. He thinks the work ethic will remain the same.
“We've had some major disappointments and have continued to work,” he said. “I think it'll be the same with success. It doesn't change. We are creatures of habit.”
Chaney gives credit to Smith's defensive unit.
“That's the key to it all,” Chaney said. “What they are doing is putting is in solid position each week.”
No Close Shave This Time
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