Arkansas has faced throwers, scramblers and combinations of both at times this year, but no one like Dak Prescott. That's the challenge, according to Rory Segrest.
Segrest, the Arkansas defensive line coach, said the stats are imprssive for Prescott, the 6-2, 230-pound senior for the No. 25 Mississippi State Bulldogs.
"He represents 70 percent of their offense when you combine his throwing and his running," Segrest said after Wednesday's Arkansas practice. "He's so tough because they use him in a lot of called quarterback runs and he is going to make something with his feet out of plays when he's passing, too.
"He's just so impressive. He's so big and it's like they have another running back in the formation, a 230-pounder you have to account for and then you also must try to get off blocks and rush the passer, too. You have to make sure they are not blocking a quarterback run every time.
"We have faced some very good quarterbacks this year. There are some who you know are going to look to scramble. Some are just drop-back guys and getting the ball off quickly, too. And, then you have Dak. He's the best of all of that. He's really been a good player and has so much experience. You know he's seen everything."
Prescott is 222 of 343 (64.7 percent) for 2,651 yards with 18 touchdowns against just two interceptions. He's run for a team-best 432 yards after taking away 153 in losses for 22 sacks. He's run for seven touchdowns and thrown for 18.
"He does not make many mistakes," Segrest said. "He makes it tough on you with the way he reads everything."
The Hogs are trying to repeat last week's solid work in the defensive line. They sacked LSU quarterback Brandon Harris five times after making only eight sacks in the first nine games.
"We finally finished some plays," Segrest said. "We really had done a good job of increasing the pressure on the quarterback each week, but we weren't finishing. For example, we had gotten off blocks pretty good at Ole Miss. We showed up in front of the quarterback 17 times, but we were not getting him down."
Deatrich Wise had two shots at Chad Kelly in critical situations against Ole Miss, but missed both times. He came up with 2.5 sacks against LSU.
"We got him what we thought were some good matchups against LSU," Segrest said. "Deatrich had been getting better each week. He wasn't 100 percent earlier in the year. He'd been bothered by an ankle injury, but I think he's close to full speed now.
"But you are never satisfied. We saw a lot of things we could do better. Obviously, Dak is a big challenge this week. Getting him on the ground is not easy. He's our biggest challenge."
Nose tackle DeMarcus Hodge called Prescott "a dual threat and mobile quarterback. He makes really smart decisions. What we have to do is really get in there and make him uncomfortable and do things he doesn't want to do. I think after today we feel that we have a good plan against him."
Hodge said the Hogs need another good performance out of Wise because the rest of the defensive line wants to see his next sack celebration.
"Really, you saw something different out of Deatrich every time," Hodge said. "He's got a new dance for every sack. He finally got to show us his dance moves. We spent Sunday afternoon watching each one of them."
Wise said it's nothing planned. Generally, the dance starts with both arms spread wide.
"I don't know what that is or what it means," Wise said. "I just do it.
"What I can tell you is that I finaly finished. That's what Coach Segrest has been saying, you get in there and now you have to finish the trip. We had not been having the kind of success we wanted, but Coach Segrest told us to press forward and good things are going to happen."
Some of the good things was the continued emergence of Karl Roesler, a walkon defensive end who got 28 snaps, 10 of them at strongside linebacker. Roesler moved from rush end to a two-point stance at linebacker when LSU went to a two tight end alignment or two running backs. The Hogs are short on strongside linebackers wtih Josh Williams and Dwayne Eugene injured.
"We thought he would be a guy who could take a tight end and beat him up," said Vernon Hargreaves, the UA linebackers coach. "Really, what happened is that I saw him drop in coverage in a look we ran in the fall for our defensive ends. That stuck in my mind and we thought Karl would be someone with a bigger body against some of the LSU formations. And, we thought he could handle the coverage aspect."
And, he did both.
"There was actually a play where they put a back in the flat and Karl covered it great," Hargreaves said. "He graded out pretty well. He's a guy who we showed him some things and he got it the first time. He seemed like a natural."
Roesler said it was a flashback to his high school days.
"That's really where I played in high school, outside linebacker," he said. "I had some trouble at the start of the week, but by the time we were done Wednesday, I was feeling alright about it.
"It was a great thrill to be a part of a victory like that, and contribute. I will always remember that game."
The linebacker experiment is over for now.
"I was in the linebacker room last week, but I'm back with the ends this week," Roesler said. "This is a spread team and I won't be playing there. I'm a rush end again."