John Thompson has young children anxious to hit the streets with their Halloween sacks. So, he knows plenty about trick or treat time. He also knows plenty about Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning. He said the sophomore standout is no treat, just all trick.
"It's not hype," Thompson said of Manning's publicity campaign. "He's the real deal. What they say about him is all true. I've seen teams really go after him and he just keeps getting up. You can't hardly rattle him.
"Who's he like? Peyton Manning, except he isn't gangly like Peyton. He's smoother. Peyton was tall and it sometimes looked like he wasn't very athletic. Eli isn't like that. He's real smooth.
"Auburn did the best job of getting to him. I thought they broke his back one time. But, Eli just didn't seem to be bothered. He acts like he likes it, and he just pops right back up. Auburn hit him pretty good. He was really good down the stretch against LSU."
Thomspson admitted after Wednesday's two-hour workout he likes to call blitzes in the Hogs multiple scheme, but he said that's hard to do against Manning.
"He can spread it around, and take what you give him," Thompson said. "If you are coming, he'll stand in there and find someone and throw it on the money. He makes you pay. But, we'll still try to get to him. That's the way we play."
Arkansas nose guard Curt Davis all but predicted a Razorback victory last week before the Auburn game. The Hogs romped, 42-17.
"You are asking me too early in the week," Davis said. "You talked to me last week on Thursday evening, and I'd seen a lot of film of Auburn by then. I'm just getting into the major part of my film study this week. I'll tell you this, I knew we were better than Auburn. I knew we were going to play well. I think we will play well this week, but I know they have a great quarterback. Ask me Thursday night and I'll tell you my thoughts again."
Davis will have his hands full against Ole Miss. Ben Claxton, the Rebs' junior center, is among the SEC's best players.
"They have a great left tackle in Terrence Metcalf, but the one I really like in that offensive line is the center," said Bobby Allen, the Hogs' defensive line coach. "He's so quick off the ball. He gives you fits."
The Hogs continued to work tight end Jason Peters in a variety of situations, adding to his knowledge of the overall offensive scheme.
"I'm learning more and more of the playbook," Peters said. "I think I can do more of what we have now. Last week, I knew a few plays. This week, I know more."
Peters said the Hogs called more pass plays designed for the tight end than were actually used against Auburn.
"Two or three of them were changed at the line of scrimmage to other plays," Peters said. "We were trying to take advantage of the Auburn defense and Zak Clark did a good job. Coach Nutt told me they would go to me, and they did. I had a lot of fun."
Peters said he'd like to continue to play tight end the rest of his UA career, but would like to help on defense, too.
"I think I can play both ways," Peters said. "I see no reason why I can't do that. I've got the foundation on defense, and I'm learning tight end."
Allen likes that idea.
"He can be an All-American tight end, nb question about that," Allen said. "But he can still help us at defensive tackle. He was picking it up and getting closer to having the whole package down. We'll get him back on defense some in the spring. I think he will get better and we will need him in the defensive line next year. He just wasn't getting enough snaps this year, and it was a waste of a great talent. He's helping us at tight end and we are happy about that."
Houston Nutt said, "Bobby wants him back, so playing him both ways is a good option. Right now, for the rest of this season, we'd like to leave him at tight end."
The Hogs have added another two-way player this week. Batman Carroll has played both wide receiver and cornerback in practice in preparation for Ole Miss. Thompson and secondary coach Dave Wommack both indicated that Carroll is in the plans for this week.
"He's in the rotation," Thompson said. "He's back in everything we are doing in the secondary, and is the Gator back. He's also back on the special teams coverage units that he's been so good at this season. But, he needs to take care of all of his responsibilities. If he does that, he'll play."