Hogs Try Fix Problems and Match Intensity of Mizzou Defense

Arkansas secondary coach Clay Jennings wants his side of the ball to match the intensity of the Missouri defense. The Hogs are trying to bounce back after a 51-50 loss.

After giving up 631 yards and 51 points to Mississippi State, Arkansas secondary coach Clay Jennings didn't want to skip any steps with practice even with a short week to prepare for Missouri.

"We didn't go light," Jennings said after practice Tuesday night. "We had heavy individual work the last two days. We addressed problems. We've also tried to get the confidence back with the kids. You need some confidence to be successful.

"We were trying to fix some of the problems. The number one thing, you have got to fix it. You have to be a plumber. If the pipes are busted, you can't buy a new house.

"We had some great leaders step up on defense, too. In the back end, a big leader this week has been Kevin Richardson. He's a great example. He leads. You look where he's come from (as a walk-on) and see the way he works and leads, it's a great inspiration.

"We've also had great leadership this week from Brooks Ellis, JaMichael Winston, Taiwan Johnson and DeMarcus Hodge and those are the guys who you would expect it from. But Kevin was right there with them leading."

Jennings said the Hogs did not focus on new wrinkles.

"It's not a magical call," he said. "We have enough calls. It's making a play when your number is called. We also worked hard on utilizing our tackling system.

"What we also worked hard on was getting back to playing with fanatical effort. If you play with effort, good things happen. We also know that we have to match the intensity of a really good defense. Missouri plays with intensity on defense. We know what our offense is facing."

Offensive line coach Sam Pittman addressed that topic. He said the Tigers do play with great effort.

"It starts with their defensive front," Pittman said. "They have a 335-pounder at tackle and they have another big guy beside him. And, the ends, they are quick and fast.

"The thing about their front, they don't give you a key. Some teams you can see how they line up and predict which way they are going to move. Not with these guys. And, they do enough things up front that keep their linebackers free. They have a willy and a sam linebacker that are free and they smack you in the mouth."

Weakside linebacker Kentrell Brothers leads the country with 140 tackles. Middle linebacker Michael Scherer has 85. Strong linebacker Donavin Newsom has 53.

"The wily goes sideline to sideline," Pittman said. "They blitz but he runs sideline to sideline and he does not miss any tackles.

"They have not shown that they will stem a lot. But they did last year against us and most everyone we've played has. We are preparing for that."

Pittman said State blitzed the safeties into running plays, something Missouri has not shown.

"But many teams have done that with us and we exepct that this week," Pittman said. "It's a talented bunch. They are good. They've been good. We know what to expect, good players and very well coached."

Tight ends coach Barry Lunney expects a handful from the MU defensive ends, Charles Harris and Walter Brady. Harris has 18.5 tackles for losses.

"They've had good defensive ends there for a number of years," Lunney said. "We can't take a false step with our tight ends, or they will be by us. They are quick and very well coached. I have great respect for their D-end coach. They have good players there every year. (Harris) is really good. He leads the SEC in tackles for losses."

Quarterback Brandon Allen said the Hogs were down after the loss to Mississippi State, but quickly turned the page to Missouri. He said the focus is to make it a great senior day on Friday.

"I think it will be a great atmosphere, fun," he said. "We know we are going to play a very good Missouri team, a very tough defense. They beat us last year, so you have revenge in mind. I think that's what makes it a rivalry game, coming back to play a team you lost to and try to avenge that defeat. That makes it a grudge game.

"I know it's going to be an emotional time. I've been here a long time. I know as a senior, I want to put my best foot forward.

"I thought we had good energy at practice. We went to the stadium to practice and that helps energy. We are coming off a loss and that was a downer, but we were at a pretty solid level the last two days. Our spirits are up."


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